They’re smart, they’re passionate, they’re savvy; they’re the women of Microsoft. And for 75 minutes this month, they were my audience.
I’d like to take you on a short journey with me and share what made this event so special to me, and why it’s the subject of all of my blogs this week.
If we roll back the tape, it was January of 2007 when I keynoted at Microsoft’s Women’s Conference for the first time. Out of the blue I was invited to speak, and while I was excited, in hindsight I realized that I’d listened too carefully to those folks who’d told me what a tough audience they would be. So although I was extremely well-prepared, I was still very nervous. What, exactly, is a *‘tough’ audience?
In addition to fretting about this ‘tough’ crowd, my presentation coach, Patricia Fripp—a legend—had decided that she’d help me out by critiquing me. (Can you imagine what it was like seeing her in the fourth row with pad and pen in hand?)
Suppose they didn’t like me? What would happen if they all got up and left in the middle? Would they ‘get’ my message? Would they find our time together to be valuable? These are some of the questions I asked myself.
Well, my keynote was a huge success, we had a lot of fun, and the evaluations were everything I could have dreamed of. What’s more, I’ve been invited to do many great projects with them ever since that day.
Fast forward to this month.
As I was preparing for the 1000+ women registered to hear me at this year’s conference, I couldn’t help but notice the remarkable difference between this time and last. I knew I’d learned a lot about myself and my passion, I mean my profession, since then. It wasn’t until I wrote down precisely what I’d learned, however, that I realized how significant it was and how important it would be for you to learn these things too.
Here are the concepts I’ll be sharing this week. You’ll also get practical tips and ‘homework’ you can implement in your own life starting today!
1. Every accomplishment first began with a decision
2. See the end from the beginning
3. Easy does it— take one tiny step
4. Don’t try to prove who you are—demonstrate it.
5. High five yourself™
Want to get ready for tomorrow’s blog? Pick a goal. Any goal. Small or big, no matter. Just pick one. Over-achiever? Still pick one goal.
*tough audience—I experienced the audience as alive, engaged, passionate and discerning. What, if anything, might cause someone to describe them as ‘tough’ is that they are bright and busy, and they have high expectations. Arrive with a content-rich program that demonstrates you did your homework, and includes actionable items, practical applicability to their work and their personal lives, and a sense of humor and you will find this audience, as well as most others, to be one of your favorites. Read: tough audiences are an invitation to excellence.