Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Brainstorming / Mastermind Discussions In The Dark

The Austin Chapter of the National Speakers Association held a special meeting to help members mastermind ideas, brainstorm solutions, and renew focus for the new year.

The event was hosted by chapter president Patti DeNucci and limited to a small group size.  The program was facilitated by Teri Hill who organized the whole evening.  Each participant visited three tables during the night, and then the group came back together to share best practices before adjourning.  Each table had a different discussion topic and individuals were assigned a rotation so that there would be a variety of professionals with whom to chat.

What made this event different was it was held in total darkness.  Nearly three hours of sharing and challenging each other to reach higher levels all by the light of a few candles and the illumination of iPhones.  Think high level round-table discussion by a campfire!

The darkened house was not on purpose.  As the groups sat down at their first tables for a 30 minute deep-dive conversation the electricity went out in Patti's neighborhood.  While some might cancel the event or take a break to see how long it would take Austin Energy to remedy the situation, NSA members are more resilient.  We know that we always must be prepared for anything that can go wrong during an event, and the motto "The Show Must Go On" is not limited to Broadway.

The atmosphere of sitting in darkness made the evening a unique experience.  With all that is being written in the meetings industry about "Alternative Conference Formats" and the studies on how human beings learn and retain information in a variety of environments, this turned out to be a great experience for all in attendance.  Certainly not a night anyone will forget anytime soon.

Sure, being surrounded by talented professional speakers and a few open bottles of wine guaranteed a good event from the start.  But the blackout added a new dimension to a successful business gathering.

Thanks to everyone who participated, I was inspired to take actions already that will help my business advance.  Once again NSA provides something that I do not believe that professional speakers could ever experience alone.  Who says great power failures can only happen at the Super Bowl?

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

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