On the day of the seminar, I took a print out of the ticket that was mailed to me after registration, and reached the venue by 8.00 am. It was supposed to be a full day event, from 8 in the morning to 8 in the evening. 12 hours were too much for me. So, I planned to check it out just for a couple of hours. If it was interesting or good, I thought I can stay back, else leave.
When I went near the hall, there were some stalls outside and they were checking the printed tickets. The volunteers handed over a form, a pen and a small booklet. I filled out the form and gave it back to the volunteers. Then they attached a paper bracelet on my hand and asked me not to remove it till the end of the seminar. That was basically the identification for someone who has registered.
I realized that we were in silver category of registration. There was a gold category and a VIP category also. The gold category, I found later were made to sit closer to the stage and had snacks, drinks and food included as part of the deal. The VIP category apparently could also have a personal meeting with the speakers, apart from all privileges of gold category. We, the cattle class, were left to fend for ourselves. We had to buy our own breakfast, lunch and snacks, which were priced at a premium.
I saw many folks milling around. I could see some usual suspects from Toastmasters community, the ones who are into training and motivational speaking.
After an inexplicable delay of about 45 minutes, the door of the hall were opened. People rushed in. I took a seat in the front row for the silver category. Then, I looked around. It was a large hall. There was a huge stage in front with massive speakers. There were 3 large screens placed in between the audience so that they could have a good view. There were 2 live camera stations. Loud music was playing. There were 3 sections of about 20 chairs each and about 15-16 rows. Thus roughly, there was space for almost 1000 people. Towards rest 3 walls of the hall, there were some stalls arranged.
I was soaking all these when someone came up on stage and introduced himself as the MC. I looked at the familiar face and recognized him. He was Murali Sundaram, a motivational speaker cum trainer whose posts I follow on Facebook.
I had a bit of interaction with him on social media earlier, which might be interesting to you. So, once he was propounding on the law of attraction. He posted that when we plan for some contingency, we attract the same. I asked him, does it mean, if I buy life insurance, I am attracting death? There was a good discussion on that though he could not convince me.
So, Murali started with his regular routine of Good Morning! More loud... More energy. Then he tried to get the audience energized by making them say I, say Yes, clap as hard, as fast and as loud, clap with the person on left clap with person on right routine. I knew these drills and let them pass. But I was observing the crowd and they were going crazy doing these drills along with the loud music.
Nonetheless, the critical Evaluator in me found some areas of improvement. He tried to engage the audience by asking questions as: How many of you are here to learn something new?. He had told the audience to answer by raising the hand and saying I loudly. But he should have asked : Do you want to learn something new instead of how many...