Back in the early sixties, Australian pop singer, Lucky Starr, sang his hit tune I’ve Been Everywhere. In a rapid fire delivery he belted out several names of all the places he had visited.
Besides being a catchy tune and one that I still enjoy, the song reminds me of all the places where I have coached, trained, presented or facilitated using Tai Chi.
And I feel like I have been everywhere too.
Five places that stick in my mind are unfortunately memorable for all the wrong reasons. Despite the best intentions from the organizer of the event and myself, here is what happened.
I found myself …
- Teaching a Tai Chi session in a gymnasium with a band practicing next door
- Presenting at a conference held in a winery, which had a large room of tables, no stage and several pillars in the middle of the room
- In a library with over sixty participants, where some had to stand in the aisles to fit into the room
- In an office area, where non participants occasionally walked through the group and my presentation
- In a hall where there was no air conditioning, after lunch when it was 35 degrees outside, to a group of people who did not want to be there
Often organisers have no choice in the rooms they have available to offer a presenter.
They can be restricted by budgets, rooms available on a given day and many other factors that can come into play when organising an event.
Organisers and presenters do have one thing in common. They both want to do everything they can to make an event a success. It is in their interests as professionals to do so.
So what can you do when you are faced with a potential disaster?
One option is to throw a temper tantrum, whine and complain.
The other option is to adapt.
I arrive at the venue early, so I can quickly assess the conditions, talk with the organiser and then, if required, make whatever changes necessary to improve the situation.
If that doesn’t work then I try to ignore the conditions and focus only on my performance.
And after one of those rare ‘memorable’ events, I sing ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’.
It makes me feel better.
First published in Starlink – June 2007
Here’s Lucky Starr singing I’Ve Been Everywhere (written by Geoff Mack)