by Burt Dubin
1. Create your seminar intuitively:
A topic title was assigned to me by the meeting planner.
It was within my field of expertise. And I had no seminar
outline that would fit this group. So, I had to work from
Relying on my understanding of the meeting planner's intentions,
I mused, entered a reverie-like state -- and dreamed about
designing a knock-their-socks-off program. Came out of the
dream state gazing at my research library, pulled out this
book and that one, started fashioning a framework.
Enraptured by the concept that was coming into being I turned
to my research files, was drawn to various folders that, sure
enough, held meaningful data. Furiously fleshing out the seminar
I wiped off the perspiration, paused, closed my eyes, returned
to a reverie state -- and breathed.
Stories and illustrations started coming to me, point-provers
I scrawled in where they were needed. My desk was a sea of
paper now. Finally I keyed in my notes, drafted the multi-page
handout and found myself with a new seminar I could sell (in
generic form) again and again. And -- it all started with
First I had the dream. Then the dream had me. Hooked, I had
to complete the design of the seminar. It took slightly over
2 weeks of intensive activity to develop a new 3-hour seminar.
That's the exact process as I lived it -- and you can do it,
2. Communicate authentically:
"What you are, sir, speaks so loudly that I can hardly
hear what you say." (Emerson)
Your essential seminar communication is your essence. It's
your unwritten message for your world, for the universe of
lives you touch. Why does everyone love Rosita? Before she
says a word audiences see her glow. They feel the love she
radiates. That's her essence. What is yours?
Some speakers are masterful technicians. They know their
topic inside out, backward and forward. They can answer just
about any question on their specialty. It stops there. There
are no core values. There is no soul, no ethos. Years ago
there was a great -- a great -- platform performer/Broadway
actor. He played lead roles in 2 classics I saw. These shows
delighted audiences for years. He had a grand voice. Impressive
bearing. Superb timing. He was a masterful technician. Yet,
and this is the tragic part, he had no life outside the platform.
Today, by his own arrangement, Zero Mostel is buried in an
unmarked grave in a New York borough. Why do I report this?
To share this view with you: We who are privileged to stand
before audiences are to be more than fine technicians. More
than experts at our art form. Aware of our impact, of the
accountability that goes with that impact, accountability
that follows us as surely as the shadow follows the form,
we are to be models of what we advocate.
We are to share more than our expertise and our stories.
We are to share our essence, our state of being, our true
Selves. We are to touch people's cores. To leave them with
a vivid and positive experience they'll never forget. An experience
of a subliminal message, an unspoken message, a wordless communication.
You see, people rarely show up to get your information. They
come to experience you.