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A Little Irritation Can Go A Long Way

Posted on June 09, 2006

By Brian Palmer

…a long way to making a session a success.  I've seen lots of speakers and been witness to mountains of session and event feedback in my 26 years here.  I'm convinced that those speakers who create the very best impression -- move people in a positive way and deliver messages which are thought about long after the proceedings are over -- are also those who have a tendency to unsettle or even irritate some in the audience.  (Think back; did the whole class appreciate that beloved teacher of yours?) Choosing a speaker with strength (even controversy and aggression) can go against a natural tendency to do everything possible to satisfy every attendee.

Did the "owner" of this meeting get to his or her place by erring on the side of making everyone feel good?

You know there is a faction of attendees who won’t like any choice that may encourage new ideas or change, the ones who always have and always will complain.  They're not going to go away.  Just as the most dysfunctional family member is often given an inadvertent amount of family power, those over-critical attendees can be given too much thought and sway those planning an event toward a path of least resistance, the path of the familiar, and the path without challenge, fresh insight or worth.

Focusing first on well defined meeting and organizational objectives is far more important than the small group who might hold you and your organization back.  Toe that line.


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Elizabeth Zielinski

Brian, I think this is great advice. As meeting professionals, we are so often inclined to give the grease to the squeakiest wheel. That's not necessarily our jobs. I follow the same rule as they do in the Olympics -- toss out the best and the worst, and then focus on what the middle third are saying.

irritation rash

After bowel movements, moist pads (such as baby wipes, flushable moist wipes, and flushable anal cleansing wipes) should be used for cleaning the anus instead of toilet paper. If there is constant moisture present in the anus or stool incontinence, it may be necessary to clean the anus with moist pads between bowel movements.

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