On Thursday I was hosting a seminar session at a local business expo. I generally enjoy doing this and I had been lucky enough to have been offered the opportunity by a good friend of mine.
As I drove for the hour that it took me to get to the venue I went over the content in my mind and I got my energy levels and mindset in the right place so that I would deliver an engaging and informative workshop.
When I got to the registration desk one of the event hosts recognised me, which was very flattering, and took me to the room in which I would be presenting. At the door was another host who had the list of registered attendees for my session. Eight intrepid souls had registered to hear me talk about Effective Communication; a little disappointing as the prior seminar on Tax Planning had attracted an audience of 25.
As I waited for my audience to arrive the start time came and went and just one person was nervously waiting outside. He soon left not wanting the pressure of being the only one. Eventually it became clear that none of the registered attendees were going to come. As my bruised ego pondered this and what I should do, a couple of gentleman arrived and asked if this was the communication workshop. From their facial expressions it was clear that they were less than convinced that they wanted to be the only two people in a room set out for 100.
I explained to them that I was more than happy to deliver the workshop and that if they wanted to see how it would go we could do it in a more informal and relaxed, conversational way. They agreed.
We then proceeded to have a very engaging session. They both enjoyed the hour we had together. They took notes, they were leaning forward in their chairs and as we chatted I lost any sense of disappointment about the size of my audience. I was having an impact on these two people and suddenly that was all that mattered.
When we finished both said to me how much they had enjoyed it and one actually stayed behind to chat with me further. But that’s not where the story finishes.
I had another two hours to drive back home in the rush hour. As I sat in the traffic I started to think about the return on my investment of time and travelling expenses: – 3 hours travelling, 3 hours preparing and 1 hour delivering. In total 7 hours; what was that time worth? What else could I have been doing?
Eventually I got back and logged on to get my emails, and this is where I believe I got my pay off. In my Inbox was notification of this tweet.
Understand the value you bring to the world. Identify your personal qualities. Read the book ResourcefulMe by Dene Stuart. @DeneStuart1
— Design Brothers (@Design_Brothers) November 11, 2013
This was followed by
— Design Brothers (@Design_Brothers) November 8, 2013
This had gone out to the tweeter’s 1,400 followers and was quickly followed by
@DeneStuart1 I missed your speech yesterday and I'm a bit gutted, heard it was great!
— Stephanie Darkes (@StephanieDarkes) November 8, 2013
which went out to the tweeter’s 3,000 followers.
The organisers of the event then picked up on this activity and retweeted to their followers.
So was my investment of time and expenses worth it?
I am in no doubt that it was. As I think back on my emotional state, when I realised that none of the registrants was interested enough to attend, I was very close to walking out in a state of high dudgeon. Had I done that I would not now have 5 new followers on Twitter, an unexpected push for my book, some glowing references about the quality and impact of my workshop, the satisfaction of knowing that I had been of service to two people and to have had my name and enhanced reputation broadcast to over 5,000 people.
Just a few years ago I would probably have reacted differently and achieved a markedly different result. It is only the fact that I have opened myself to, studied and put into practice the concept of emotional intelligence that enabled me to turn an apparently negative and damaging experience into a valuable and enhancing one.
If you would like to understand the impact that the awareness of emotional intelligence can have for you and your business, Dene Stuart is a licensed practitioner in the testing and delivery of EI tests and workshops. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and he is offering a free 30 minute consultation to readers of The Small Business Blog.