Yesterday I was standing in front of 5 people (3 of whom were in the back row) as I prepared to deliver a seminar for an agency who contracted me to deliver a series of presentations this week. As I stood at the front of the room I was a little disappointed in the turnout, then I reminded myself of the following post from earlier this year and challenged myself to live up to my own message.
We all want to teach to full classrooms and sold out seminars because we have an important message to share, and it is good for our egos. If you run open enrolment seminars however, you have no doubt faced budget, staffing and political issues resulting in poor turnout at your event. If you have ever done a breakout session at a conference you know what it is like to go up against a number of big name speakers or classes addressing the sexy or hot button topics of the day and only have a handful of people show up at your session.
While it is an honor to be a general session or keynote speaker and speak to 700 or more people at a conference or event, it is just as much of an honor to speak to 5, 10 or 20 officers who show up at your seminar, workshop or breakout session.
It is easy to get caught up being frustrated about the people who did not show up for your presentation. The key is to focus on, and celebrate the people who did show up. It is the people in the room who deserve your focus, attention, energy, enthusiasm, passion, wisdom and knowledge. They deserve you to bring your “A Game” and provide a great experience for each of them on that day.
The next time you look out into the classroom and are frustrated by the low turnout (that will be this morning for me), reframe your thoughts. Remember it is about them, and not you. Be grateful for the people who are there and be grateful for the opportunity to engage with them in a more personal setting than if there were a large group. Then jump into the presentation and enjoy the experience.
P.S. The class of 5 was a small group, but a great group and we had a good day.
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