And Then the Fire Alarm Went off

Last week, I was honored to be the keynote speaker at the anniversary celebration of the American Management Association Women's Leadership Center in New York. The topic of the event was "Show up with Power & Authenticity to Drive Your Success." Everything was organized perfectly by AMA: Beautifully set-up room, wine bar, delicious hors d'oeuvres, sound checked, everyone showing up on time, great networking happening in the room, powerful welcome message by Lauren McNally, Head and Creative Director of the Center... I was having a blast speaking and sharing some pieces of my eclectic story.

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But then, just as I was telling the ladies about a past, extremely painful experience with a fraudulent business partner, the fire alarm goes off! At first, I thought, "really?" but it quickly dawned on me: Woah! What a moment to sound the alarm! It just fit so perfectly into the context! A perfect addition to my story. -- Thank you, Universe!

Soon after, there was also an announcement letting us know that the alarm had been triggered by a problem with the electrical power system at the adjacent hotel, and there was no need to take action until further notice, so we continued with our program. I was just sharing how I was rethinking a few things in my life after being knocked out by malaria, and bingo... the fire alarm goes off again! Alarmed I was for sure back then at the ICU. That fire alarm couldn't have picked a better moment! This time, it stopped within just a few seconds, so I could quickly resume my talk.

As part of my interactive keynote, I was also teaching my wonderful audience several tools they could apply in their careers. One of them is about activating your power energy in a matter of seconds so you can enhance your business presence and raise your confidence. And we were just finishing that exercise when... you guessed it! The alarm... But this time, we received an announcement that the hotel's electrical power system had been fixed. Now, is that cool or what? We activate our power energy, and the hotel's power system is fixed! Maybe our "activate your inner power energy" activity spread to the hotel's electrical power system? -- I'll leave it up to you to answer that question... Fact is, it was divine timing! 

Several of the ladies in the audience wrote me after the event to congratulate me on “doing an excellent job of keeping focus in the middle of the fire alarm” and “adding a fun moment.”

So next time when something interrupts your presentation, don’t be frustrated. Instead, look for the meaning, the humor, the opportunity in the interruption. Use it to enrich your presentation! Your audience will thank you for it.