Monday, January 3, 2011


The voice on the other end of my car phone sounded a bit anxious! ‘You are giving a product presentation today – is that still on?’
Sally was a receptionist in a large firm of architects and designers and something of an all-rounder as her responsibilities were many. And obviously, she had been told to ‘make sure that everything goes well’ with my lunch-time product presentation to the architects and designers.
‘Of course, Sally! The presentation is at 12 noon and, in fact, I am already on my way to you to set everything up in your conference room.’ As usual, I had to sound calm and very reassuring, despite the fact that I felt a bit jumpy because a lot of things can go wrong on such an occasion and have so in the past!
Which is the reason why I was already on the way to their offices: to make sure that nothing could go wrong with my slide projector on its tripod, my mobile screen, the slides in their carousel cartridge, and my infrared remote control. I wanted to be sure of all that in order to switch-on the projector and everything worked as it should.
Oh, and I needed to remind the caterer as my company provides a sumptuous meal, a tasty treat for everybody whilst I talk!
The caterer I was engaging had great status in these circles; he was the elite among exquisite caterers by providing sandwiches that were out of this world, cheese platters, desserts, fruit juice and soft drinks on ice. Sometimes, I could hardly place any samples and brochures on the table but that was the way people seemed to like it. And I liked to observe the hungry people’s eyes when they walked into the conference room after a long morning of concentrated work, hungry, somewhat spent, and notice all this gluttony. To them, such pleasant surprises are rare!
So, whilst I spoke, everybody helped themselves freely to the food and drinks; after all, it was lunchtime!
I also recorded my visits by taking photos of the people there, mainly group photos, and placed them in a kind of photo album, carefully noting down the architect’s firm with address and the number of people attending. This gave me a kind of reference of my PR work. Of course, I also recorded exhibitions I’d organised or attended, graduation ceremonies of architects I had attended and sponsored, plus anything else pertaining to my sales promotion and public relations. 
However, it had happened a few times that I was so carried away  with my mission and, after the lecture, had spoken with so  many people, that I missed my chance of taking photos and, by the time I remembered, there was usually only one person left, helping himself to one last sandwich. There was no way I could have called everybody back for a group photo and, whenever  this happened, it irked me terribly!
Therefore, this time, I vowed, there will be nothing going wrong! ‘Excuse me,’ I said before the start of my presentation to some architect who was standing around and hungrily biting into his meal: ‘I wonder if you would be kind enough taking a few photos during my presentation; I’d like to record today’s event in an album as a memento.’ Managing a big smile and pleading eyes.  That man’s eyebrows shot up in amazement ‘How many photos?’ he asked slowly and with his mouth full. ‘Just a few, whatever you take I’d appreciate.’                                         Slowly, the man took my camera and I could read disbelief in his eyes.
At the end of this most successful lunch time meeting, he handed me back the camera with the same strange expression. Thanking him warmly, I packed all my equipment into their cases and boxes and carried everything out to my car. Storing everything carefully, I reflected on another very productive presentation!
‘Another successful event,’ I thought proudly as I sat in my car    ‘Everything went without a hitch! Before driving off I had a quick glance at the photos taken of this gathering. Taking my camera and checking the digital window, I discovered that this architect had misunderstood me and, instead of pictures of his colleagues, he’d taken twelve photos of me in various positions of speaking!

Peter Frederick 

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