I just got back from co-presenting a pre-conference session at the 2013 National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Conference in New Orleans. My fabulous co-presenter was Monica Ricci. We had a blast presenting the workshop, “Speak Up! Crafting and Delivering Killer Presentations.” There were about 36 attendees, and the workshop was 4 hours long. And the workshop was a real hit, thankfully, but that’s not the main point here. What is the main point is the story behind the workshop and how it came about.
Monica served as Moderator of the popular Ask the Organizer Panel at the NAPO Conference for years. 10 years to be exact. In 2010, I had the distinct honor of serving as a panelist under Monica’s moderation. I was smitten. Okay, that may sound strange, but when I meet someone who is a great presenter, a smarty pants, has a killer sense of humor, and a great sense of style, I take notice. So, we became buddies. Little did we know what the future would hold.
The following year in 2011, I was selected to be the Moderator of the first-ever Golden Circle Ask the Organizer Panel, which was made up of organizers that were Golden Circle members, but would be presented in front of all conference attendees. Monica stayed in her role as Moderator of the traditional Ask the Organizer Panel. And so we worked side by side, taking photos together, sharing ideas and notes about our respective panels, and enjoying our roles.
In 2012, we both served as Moderators again, but this time both panels would have pre-submitted questions, which was never the case in the past for Monica’s panels. So we worked even more closely together as my Golden Circle Panel functioned by having pre-submitted questions only. Apparently, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks when the “old dog” (you know what I mean… not talking age here folks!) is a pro. Monica knocked the panel out of the park even with pre-submitted questions and was able to go out with a bang as that was her last year serving as moderator. I had one more year left to my 3-year term as Moderator.
My good friend and colleague, Andrea Bowser, was hanging out with Monica and I in 2012 and commented to me afterwards how it was too bad we would no longer both be serving as Moderators. She suggested how cool it would be if Monica and I teamed up to co-present something together at the conference in the future. Lightning struck! I contacted Monica and the rest, as they say, is history.
We submitted a pre-conference session on speaking, which seemed only natural as we are both professional speakers and have served in that role at the NAPO Conference for years. We prepared for months via Skype and phone, and really enjoyed the process. We created all content together, organized the presentation, and timed it out. We then split up the sub-topics, each taking ones to present, so that we weren’t talking over each other too much (we are both talkers so were concerned about it getting too chatty!). We wanted it to be interactive, so added in exercises, stories, and role playing.
Monica shared that she had never co-presented before. This was news to me!! I felt honored that she trusted me enough to team up together, and was hoping it would go really well.
And it did. It was an absolute blast for us to present, and our attendees, thankfully loved it. We are humbled by the rave reviews, and are thrilled that the attendees are all pumped up to get out there and speak more, and speak better.
The moral of this story is that you have to go for it! Set your sights on something and make it happen. I could have dismissed Andrea’s comment and not approached Monica. Monica could have said no, especially given that she had never co-presented with someone before. NAPO could have rejected the proposal to present. But the stars aligned. In some ways, it goes even farther back than that. Monica could have held a grudge that she had to share her Moderator role with an interloper (that would be me!) when I was selected to take over the Golden Circle Panel. But she didn’t. She embraced the change, welcomed me to the inner sanctum, and became my ally. That decision and attitude led to the two of us becoming partners in crime… a dynamic duo. And I for one am not only grateful for it, but look forward to what the future holds. Look out world, here we come…