How to Embrace Change
As a professional speaker, I’m a huge fan of other professional speakers. When one of my peers gets a standing O…I find myself enjoying a standing O vicariously. When a fellow speaker presents the audience with an “Aha” moment…my heart is smiling. And when I see another speaker in an embarrassing moment…I am blushing, too.
Let me tell you about one of those blushing moments. It occurred at a professional speakers event I attended a few years ago. Theo Androus, a professional speaker and real estate executive, was tasked with introducing our keynote speaker, Dan Rather. As you can imagine, the audience was looking forward to hearing from the retired dean of CBS Evening News. However, moments before he was due to speak, Theo got word that the news anchor had been rushed to the hospital. Suddenly, everything changed. Here sat an audience of over 1000 people awaiting a keynote speaker who wasn’t there. Theo’s task just grew exponentially.
Let me interrupt the story long enough to ask, in this same situation, what would you have done?
Stop. Ponder for a moment. What would you have done? Would you have stepped up and canceled the event? Would you have gotten emotional and made excuses? Would you have made a hole in the wall on the way out?
Here is what Theo did. He stepped center stage and explained exactly what had happened. Then, without missing a beat or relying on notes, he told Dan Rather’s story as well as Rather could have told it himself. Then, he introduced another speaker from the audience who was an expert on change. By the time all was said and done, the audience was on its feet with not one but two standing ovations!
Needless to say, despite a huge change in the day’s itinerary, the event was a true success.
So, here’s the question: How did this happen?
It boiled down to two critical traits that Theo Androus possessed:
1) He was prepared for the unexpected.
2) He wasn’t afraid of change. Instead, he embraced it.