First, a bit of a disclaimer: I don’t take compliments well. It’s not so much humility as it is years of Army life beating whatever ego I had out of me. Or, perhaps the fact that I have 3 kids who ensure those accolades come few and far between. So, when a number of my colleagues here at SHRM were quick to congratulate me for my role in yesterday’s SHRM Live production, I initially felt that same sense of unease and awkwardness in embracing it- yet this time it had nothing to do with Army life or the scars of parenting. The fact is what they experienced from the viewer’s perspective had very little to do with me and everything to do with the collective talent, effort and attitude of so many folks working behind the scenes- helping me from head to toe- literally. So, for my own selfish purposes of hoping to feel more comfortable I want to pull back the curtain and share how much it took to make this on-air novice succeed.
Again, from head to toe:
Hair- Ok, so we start from a place that you can only do so much with what we have. Thanks to recessive genes that gives us colorblindness (yep), and left-handedness (that’s me), I also have this wonderful hairline. On top of that, what hair I have never really goes where I want it to go and Lisa Block’s (our VP of meetings and conferences) facial expression yesterday morning told me all I needed to know. Any other day she’d have written it off as individual expression, but given her commitment to our audience and our members she’d no problem being what she needed to be- honest. So- off to hair and make-up! A little (more like a bottle really) of hair spray later and “voilà!” Well, at least now our audience wouldn’t wonder what light socket I stuck my finger in.
Ears- I have a new found and immense measure of respect for anyone who’s ever used an earpiece on the set of any TV show- and an even greater amount of admiration for whoever is on the other end of that earpiece. At first, yes a bit disconcerting hearing that soft voice whispering in your ear no doubt. Yet as the show progressed it was my saving grace with lines such as “Coming up on your mark..Stretch it out longer if you can…move your clipboard out of the camera please…are you doing ok, you look confused, give me a thumbs up.” Direction and affirmation from on high- or at least the control room- that was Jon and as I drove home last night I was hoping to hear him say “remember, turn right up at the next light.” Just hoping it doesn’t encroach on my dreams any time soon.
Eyes/Mouth- One person noted how smooth I managed the questions during the Q and A period. Little did they know that between Mary Kaylor, Joe Jones, and all the amazing folks in the control room, I was being fed like a king. Questions, feedback, comments, you name it- all on one glorious iPad. So, when it came time for that question, or that interaction with the folks on stage what you saw as the end result of a well-orchestrated group of folks pulling it all together.
Shoulders, Knees and Toes- Yes the song is in your head now…but what was in my head yesterday was Cynthia’s voice- reminding me to stand strait- and keep my toes on my mark. And when I didn’t hear her voice I saw her off camera as if she were doing all she could to train an adult ballerina- “Stand tall, shoulders back, chest out.”
So you see- what you saw is merely the tip of the iceberg. Beyond all of the prep done by so many, the incredible speakers that participated, and the amazing interaction on the part of thousands of our members SHRM Live was much more than what took place on camera. It was an incredibly committed, honest, and gifted group of professionals who took a novice like me and made one phrase ring truer than ever- The Magic of Television.