I was working with a bank. They wanted to do something unusual at the Annual General Meeting: make it genuinely interesting and challenging.
I know, right!
They invited some excellent people to talk, and also me – on the subject of How To Change The World.
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(That’s the title of my best selling book, published in 16 languages worldwide.)
But hiring a speaker can be hit-and-miss – as perhaps you know already.
It’s especially awkward when you know the speaker is going to improvise (of which more below).
And when as many as 750 people are coming to your event.
They’re not all customers yet.
Some of them are journalists, from national media.
And you REALLY want to make a good impression.
But let’s switch point of view for a moment:
Without holding myself up as any kind of great expert, or indeed the greatest orator in the history of civilisation, I was happy to be part of an event designed to encourage people to think about the important topic outlined above.
If Triodos wanted me to deliver some kind of rousing call to action, I was keen to oblige.
The bank’s managing director, Bevis Watts, told me he’d like me to encourage each one of the hundreds of people present to take action, as a result of something they heard on the day.
Not necessarily to apply for one of the bank’s new accounts, much as Triodos might like that, but to do something.
I felt confident.
But success or failure were not entirely in my hands, for reasons I’ll explain.
Here’s what I told somebody about what I was going to do, half an hour beforehand:
I’m going to be talking about how to change the world. I’m going to be challenging people to think about how they can do that – and they know they can do that, because they’re doing it already. But they can do it even better, and with a bit of thought they can make an even bigger dent in the things they want to change…
You can judge for yourself, whether I managed it.
From my point of view, the biggest challenge was following some other very good speakers, including my brilliant, funny and charming friend Rob Hopkins.
Having no clear idea what Rob or any of the other speakers might say, I was going to have to make it all up at the last minute.
What made it harder still was the short time I was given: roughly one-third as long as the usual TED talk…
Six minutes! You can’t say much in six minutes.
But the talk has has some value, if it prompts you to think about how YOU could make a positive change…
Would YOU change the world, if you had the chance?
Well you do have the chance.
PS.> Leave me a comment. Write ONE thing you will do to change YOUR world.