Apart from school debating and one lecture presentation, nothing prepared me for my debut as an instant facilitator.
I was an attendee for a computer user conference at the World Congress Centre Melbourne at Crowne Plaza. As part of the Queensland branch of the group, I had been asked to introduce each speaker and then ask for questions once they had finished. This was easy. Usually there were no questions and I wrapped it up quickly. Or with too many questions, I left everyone to continue the conversation out the door after the presentation finished.
Which meant I was completely unprepared for the last session of the conference.
Fifteen minutes beforehand, I was taken aside and asked to lead. I almost went into apocalyptic shock. This was a plenary session. Me in the middle, five geek gurus on my left and several hundred system managers, developers, engineers and sales people in front of me. I was outgunned and more than a little overwhelmed.
And my preparation didn’t help either. I quickly scanned the names of the experts. I saw that one of them had worked on an previous incarnation of the currently popular operating system. That old clunker had a command called show stardate. I thought I could use that as my icebreaker.
I turned around and the fifteen minutes have disappeared in seconds. I walked to the podium. I waited for the geek gurus to sit. Then I wait for the audience to file in. I made sure to keep my hands behind the podium. If exposed they would be glistening from sweat.