I am at a tech conference in Amsterdam with my friend and fellow speaker Olivia Schofield. For months, we have been waiting for this conference. 3000 people from around the world are here.
We arrive early to grab good seats. After drinking our coffee, we go to the main room. There is a massive stage with a huge LED screen showing amazing videos. And together with electronic music and flashy lights, create an energetic atmosphere.
It is time to start, I can feel the excitement, but nothing happens.
15 Minutes pass by and nothing. I start feeling some tension in the room. Suddenly, someone goes on stage and says, “We are sorry, but the first speaker didn’t arrive. Thank you for your patience we are finding a solution.” Awkwardness reigns the room.
“This is such a shame!” Olivia said.
“I can’t believe it either. You should go on stage!” I replied jokingly.
I could, I guess!”
“Yes, why not?”
“Ok, I’ll go ask. You should never waste stage time. And you never know.”
10 Minutes later, Olivia is on stage.
How is this possible? More importantly, how could you do this too?
Our friend Ryan Avery. The world champion of public speaking of 2012 taught us one of his strategies to be a better leader. The 4, 3, 2, 1 Strategy. “Don’t get ready guys. Stay ready!” he said.
Always have ready with you 4 stories. One personal story of success. And another of failure. One success story in your professional life. And one of failure.
Always have ready 3 facts relevant to your industry.
Always have ready 2 quotes relevant to your industry.
And always have ready 1 question. Ryan’s example was a great one for networking events, “How did you get started?”
And Olivia has all of them, always with her.
The joy of the audience and the faces of relief in the organisation’s staff is something that I will never forget.
And this action opens many doors for Olivia. Now everybody is coming to speak to her. Potential friends, potential clients, and fans. No wonder if the organisers invite her to speak at their next event in London.
Imagine if she would have remained in her seat? Poor organisation’s staff. And what a wasted opportunity.
This incident in Amsterdam reminds me that many times in my life. I have been at an event where such an opportunity arises. But nobody takes it.
An opportunity to speak, to network, to share a story.
In other words an opportunity to jump in.
Maybe not in front of 3000 people at first. But, the next time that you hear:
“Is there anyone who wants to jump in?”
Breathe, count 4, 3, 2, 1 and
You are ready.