It’s 3am New Orleans time. I’m wide awake in my room at the name hotel on Bourbon St, where I’ve chosen to be for the next 4 days at the Presentation Summit 2015.
I spent 18 hours travelling here. I missed the most important game of rubgy there has been for years (I discovered on landing last evening that England, my team; lost to Wales, our bitterest local rivals in the world champs). It has cost me thousands of dollars, a weekend away from my wife and kids and real the expense of handing over work that I would normally be doing, to members of my team. All of that money, time and hassle, for what? Why, I asked myself through coffee-deprived filters, did I come here at all?
I know I’m not alone in asking that. Most attendees at this long-standing US event will be sort of saying the same thing. Some will have stuff to sell, others will have colleagues to see again, many will be here to see the illustrious guests and keynote speaker, Guy Kawasaki. But I know why I’m here. I know how this event will be worth the price I’ve paid to be here. Every penny, every second and every longing sigh for home will be worth it if I leave here inspired. A speaker is always doing something to her crowd. Explaining, illustrating, boring, patronising, lecturing, and most often it’s a subtle combination of verbs like this that define the speaker and the audience’s experience. I want these expert speakers to INSPIRE me and thrill the sell-out crowd. I don’t want lots of old stuff rehashed, unless it’s William Shakespeare, Walt Whitman or Wallace Stevens .
I can learn hints and tips from books. I can be shown the finer points of Prezi or PowerPoint on the web. But I need a human being’s energy, insight, enthusiasm and confidence to combine to send me racing from the room every day to be better, to do better, to make the biggest difference that I can. That’s why I’m here.
I’m looking forward to it. I want the speakers, each and every one to point confidently to the top of some far away mountain and show me how I can get there for myself. I have a dream too. It’s to be a better me every time I stand up to speak. I’ll let you know how it goes, and I’ll share all of the new things I learn.