If you’ve never been to the annual Bay Area Mobility Management (BAMM) conference, then you’re missing out! Where else can you spend a day plus with 500 of the top professionals in the global mobility industry, in a beautiful, sunny setting with some great food? If you’re me, someone who maxes out the extrovert scale on the Myers-Briggs test, then you’re thinking the more the merrier, right?

How about we throw in there the exciting opportunity of moderating a panel at the conference? Sure! Bring it on!

What many people don’t know, is that just because you have extravertive tendencies (many times defined as outgoing, talkative, energetic) it doesn’t mean you’re devoid of feelings of introversion, (commonly defined as reserved or inner focused). Carl Jung, who popularized these personality theories, thought that both exist within each of us, just at competing levels.

So even though meeting person after person and trying to find meaningful conversation doesn’t overwhelm me to the point of sitting in the corner, or standing on a stage doesn’t scare me to the point of silence, it doesn’t mean that either one is easy.

I find in these cases; a little preparation goes a long way. For me, it starts with what I’m wearing, and while that may be categorized as an extravertive technique, a great deal of thought goes into what I put on. I want to stand out (in a good way… not in crazy, what is she wearing kind of way) and be something bright in a sea of what I imagine will be a lot of grey and black. I want to feel comfortable on the outside so that the inside can shine through. I also do a little research on local sports in the area as well as current headlines. Sometimes having a little knowledge vs. a blank stare can help you connect.

When speaking, practice makes perfect for me (or as close to perfect as I’m going to get). In the case of this past mobility conference, I was a last-minute swap as a moderator because the original presenter, who put all the hard work and effort into making the panel a reality, had an unforeseeable conflict. Suddenly, I was speaking someone else’s words; taking forward their efforts. So I got down to do doing a great deal of research on the topics to make sure I really understood them, worked in a little word-swap here and there to make it sound like my own voice and practiced the heck out of it.

Like most of us, who tend to zone out when being read to, making presentations seem like an easy conversation is the real key. There are many people in this industry who make hosting a panel look like an episode of Oprah. I’m talking to you, Peggy Smith! I feel like Peggy could have her own afternoon talk show and we’d all regularly tune in.
So, Peggy kicked off BAMM with a great panel session about having a seat at the mobility table. Is it a boardroom table? Is it a ping pong table in the break room? Is it the lunch table? All great discussion! As I watched her, I realized one thing that Peggy (and Oprah) both do, is that they take the role of an active listener. They summarize what the person said to make sure we all heard it correctly. They ask the question that came up in most of our minds, or think up one we never would have thought of to keep the conversation going. And just like the key-note speaker, famed NFL ref Ed Hochuli said, none of that happens by accident.  How cool was he, by the way?! I’ve never seen so many people NOT on their phones.

No one catches the most receptions, scores the most touchdowns or makes the most passes without hard work and preparation. No one gets up in front of a few hundred of their colleagues and speaks about world topics affecting mobility without preparation and practice.

As was true of my panelists at BAMM: Vini Valverde from Trimble, Paul Onitsuka from Flex and Brett Sipes from Global Tax Network. Each one of them thought out their responses and practiced and prepped them to the point of easy conversation. It was amazing to be a part of such a great discussion as we “traveled” around the globe, talking about hot topics and what effect they’ll have on our world of mobility down the road. You guys made this entertaining, interesting and insightful.

So, next time you’re at one of these big conferences, and someone comes up to you to talk about the weather, spend a little time to see what the two of you might have in common. It may have taken all of that person’s energy to ask you if you’re enjoying the rain outside. Don’t assume that just because someone is quiet that they may have nothing to say, or just because someone is being loud, that what they have to say is important. But most of all, don’t assume that being with 500 of your friends and colleagues for a full day doesn’t count as work!

This article was posted on following categories: Relocation Tips