Friday, November 30, 2007

Going up! and down.... and up! and down....

My new job as a lift attendant

My company often runs evening events in London for clients where my boss does her 'Michael Parkinson' impersonation and interviews a panel of experts for an invited audience. This week, she was chairing a panel at a Japanese bank, discussing the 'power and the pitfalls of mentoring'.

The conference facility where we were holding court was on the 9th floor of this grand old London edifice. The conference area was brand new, amazing wood panels and really comfy chairs!

But being on the 9th floor we had to shepherd guests (around 140) from the reception up to the conference rooms and through to our event. With colleagues stationed at various points to register, direct and socialise, it was my task to greet them in reception and get them to the 9th floor without getting lost.

I think I went up and down in the lift about ten times or more... it was fun! I texted Bryan at home "going up and down in lift. Whee." He really does wonder what I do for a job sometimes.

Once we'd got them all safely herded in (a herd of bankers.... is that the right collective noun do you think?) and they'd finished nibbling biscuits, drinking tea and orange juice, they all sat down in the main room with my boss and the four panellists on stage. It looked really cool - and apart from some odd squeaks on the PA, it went extremely well.

The four speakers were all very different, and good in their own ways, but one said his greatest mentor was his mother (yes, the audience went 'aahhh'). I liked him. Unassuming, but probably a great force for good in his world.

After the main event, it was 'networking time'. Now, I know you are probably highly envious of me - after a full day at work, driving into London, spending time going up and down in a lift and then having to network and chat to as many people as I could! But, actually, it wasn't as bad as it may seem. One lady and I had a great conversation about kick boxing, and for the first time in ages I felt comfortable and able to do this in a relaxed and easy manner. I didn't feel I was in 'my zone' but at least I didn't feel as out of place as I have done in the past.

After the event we drove back to the office - I say 'we' as there were seven of our team there and three of us went down together; Keeley driving and talking to her sat nav as if it was a person, calling it names when it made decisions she disagreed with, and calling it names when she didn't follow its directions.

I got home around 11, tired but pleased that the event had been a great success. Getting enough delegates there had been quite a marketing challenge, but we'd done it. Getting the logistics in place had been an interesting exercise too.

Either way, it had its ups and downs, as they say.
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