Why the IT Guy is the First Person I Look for at Every Conference

Posted on: Apr 01, 2015

Categories: Speaking

conferenceOver the summer, I spoke at a large healthcare conference—it was a three-day event with 2,000 attendees. I was scheduled to speak on two different occasions, both in front of audiences of over 500.

When I got to the conference the morning of my presentation, I didn’t seek out the CEO or any of the company’s most important players. Instead, I looked for one person: the sound guy.

He was stationed in the back of the room, dressed a little more casually than the other attendees, probably in his early 30s, his head bent over a laptop. I walked right up and introduced myself, told him why I was there, and that I needed his help.

I had listened to another speaker already, and I cringed inside as so many of their words were lost due to a bad microphone—it didn’t even matter what they were saying, because no one could hear them talk. So, I quickly told the young man that I would need to run a sound test. Next, I asked to have the podium removed from the stage, replaced with a microphone and a mic stand. Finally, I asked to have the lighting brought up in the front of the room.

The young man nodded as I said all of this, and he said it would be no problem. I reached into my bag, and pulled out a copy of my book and handed it to him. I shook his hand and told him how much I appreciated his help.

I left the room for a few hours to check out the rest of the conference, and when I returned, there was the young man dragging the podium out of the way, rewiring the new mic stand, and the lights much brighter. With just those simple adjustments, my presentation was 75% better, and I hadn’t even spoken a word yet.

You are going to get set in all kinds of environments, but it’s important in any working place to create the environment you need for the most success. Surround yourself with the right technology, lighting, temperature—literally set the stage for yourself and your success. Of course, as you enter a new environment, you don’t get to change all the rules, and that’s why it’s important to treat the people who are the real game-changers—the IT guys, the custodians—who can help you get what you need.

What’s in your dream setting for you to be the most effective in your workplace? Have you ever thought about that? Make a list, and see what you can do to make that environment come to life around you.

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