Would it intrigue you to know that, today at lunch, one of the world’s greatest public speakers sat next to me? It was the result of my putting myself in the company of high quality people for several years. There were times when I had to push myself, and times when I’ve made social mistakes; but I knew that if I kept immersing myself in positive environments, eventually I would grow.
A public speaking friend (Thanks, Elaine!) brought me to Patricia Fripp’s workshop “How to Prepare and Present Powerful Presentations” as a guest. I was already familiar with the Fripp speech model, but since “Learning requires repetition and reinforcement,” as she says, it was helpful to hear it again. Today, she gave a more interactive version of the workshop, with more audience questions, mini-coaching, and of course, general audience interaction. I’ve heard of people who are so adept at reading others that it’s almost as if they can read minds. I now know that they’re not just urban legends. She could tell just from watching the audience that I was star struck and nervous around her, and she wasn’t going to let me stay that way–she made sure I got a big dose of Fripp! I’ll definitely be more at ease the next time I meet a celebrity.
This is the third time I’ve seen Fripp live. Her presentations are so content rich that they give me that light-headed buzz after about an hour, yet I push myself to stay focused and absorb all I can. Several times during the presentation she asks the audience “What have you learned so far?” I can’t remember, but then I’ll hear myself quoting her over the next several days. “It’s hard to be creative in isolation,” I told my lunch mates, as we recounted how much we value face to face meetings.
That was when she came to our table and helped an NSA member hone an upcoming presentation. I had no well-formed questions, so I just observed. There’s value in the presence of high-achieving people above their words. Beyond listening to them, modeling them is an indispensable way to learn from them; and mindset is contagious.
Thank you, Patricia Fripp, for sharing your time and attention with us. I hope to see you again soon, and when I do, I’ll have some progress to show you.