Only viable option – return with a vengeance

making progress
keep moving forward is what Walt Disney taught me

Only viable option – return with a vengeance. Having 24 hours to think and plan before the same speech to a peer group of “the worst audience ever”….I refused to be a victim. The audience of 40 deserved to be in a place to hear, and more importantly, understand, the message I was bringing.

Got there even earlier than before, rearranged everything: the room, the presentation, the activities, the tone, the goal. Everything modified to go up against the toughest “opponent” ever in 13 years…

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By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.


  1. Jeff,

    I have been there with you on this. I once taught a group of college students in a “cohort” setup where I knew the tone was set by one guy in particular. I had to teach them for 9 more classes…how was I to get through this? He was nasty and angry about his work he had just come from. More importantly, he didn’t want to be there, but his company was making him go back to finish his degree, even though he was sure he was more intelligent than anyone in the room. Nothing I could say was going to please him, and the rest of the class (I think, out of fear) followed in line with him.

    For the first two nights, I left feeling I gave it my all but had really been emotionally defeated. Good thing I had a week to prepare for the next class. I had to change the environment. So I started doing much more group work in class, and I would mix the groups up constantly so as to not let the guy be with one or two people that he heavily influenced all the time. Slowly, one by one, the others from the class were coming to me privately, apologizing for HIS behavior toward me. I think they realized that removed from his comfort zone in class, he was just a negative soul that was bringing them down. They corrected him – it wasn’t for me to change the behavior. After the 10 classes with him, I was gone, and the group got another teacher. They had to deal with him throughout the 14 months together.

    What did it teach me? I didn’t have to force change to meet what I wanted…I kept doing the best job I could do. The environment, though, realized that change had to be with it.


  2. Bob, thanks for sharing your experience. Changing what you CAN is a great use of energy and experience.

    PS. Forgot to mention in the post, I had spent the afternoon rearranging the presentation, and then arrived even earlier than before.

  3. Patty, dig deep and find a way(s) you never dreamed of teaching. Bob’s idea of changing things up worked, as it did for me.

    The biggest lesson is that it makes no difference to plow though the designed/desired content if the audience wont be receptive to it.

    You can trick them into finding it useful by attacking the learning process from an angle no one’s ever shown them. Have fun and be creative.

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