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Monday, March 08, 2010

Lemonade From Lemons

Hi Everyone --

I am happy to say that I received lots of emails from happy customers of my Speak on Cruise Ships program. If you want to get started cruising free you can check out this site:

In any event, once in awhile I like to publish these emails (with permission) especially when they have value to new folks looking to cruise free.

Thus, the below post come from an email sent by Phil Calkins. Phil tells the story of how he made lemonade from lemons -- and still got to cruise free! I think his note is instructive not just a cruise speaker stand point but for any time you are asked to speak and something goes wrong...

Hi Daniel,

We just returned from the Explorer of the Seas, 9-night cruise out of Bayonne, NJ, and wanted to share an “the show must go on” experience. Since we had an early flight out of Nashville, TN the morning of Feb. 5, we drove down the night before. I still had a few e-mails to send out and read and when I was finished I shut down my laptop and packed it in the case. The afternoon of the 5th, while waiting for the muster drill I pulled out my laptop, plugged it in, and it was head as last week’s mackerel! It showed no power coming in at all. I removed the battery and still nothing. So I called guest relations, introduced myself as the enrichment speaker and they promptly sent up an electrician to check the outlet. He explained I was getting power from the outlet to the charger but nothing from the charger into the computer. I thought I must have twisted a wire or something, so when I met Nicky, the Cruise Activities Director, following the muster drill, I explained my plight and that I would do the talks without the PowerPoint. As it turned out, it was a great move. Let me explain.

All of my 5 talks were scheduled at 2PM (ship’s time) each of the 5 days at sea. The staff promoted each talk over the ship’s intercom as well as the Daily Compass, and I set up the day 1 attendees with a list of the up-coming talks and asked them to come back each day. I had about 60% repeat attendees each day plus new ones and averaged around 25-30 per talk (Day 2 was best at slight over 50!). At the conclusion of the last talk, people hung around talking and asking questions and taking my business card with my contact info. It reminded me of the end of the semester when the students leave but the bond was still their between them and me. Because of the computer crash, I made the talks even more interactive and engaged them by asking them to envision some of the scenes the slides portrayed.

I’ll still plan on PowerPoint for the future but it just shows that good prep and flexibility can still make lemonade out of lemons!

As I mentioned above, having the talks the same time, each day, at the same conference room was a big plus. Even though I didn’t need the projector, the cruise staff came by about 15 minutes early each day to check on any needs I might have, and stayed around mixing with the attendees and our warm up chats. I’m sure they reported the excellent repore’ shared by all.

I did record the first 12 minutes of my first talk on high def video and I’ll get that to you to forward to Celebrity ASAP. If it looks like I was gripping the podium for stability, I was! We went from a Cat. 2, hurricane strength storm about 5AM that morning and still had force 9 gale winds by early afternoon.

Thanks again for all your support and representation,

Phil Calkins, M.S., CFP

Image: Suat Eman /


Allyn Evans said...

Hi, Daniel and fellow cruisers!

I always bring two backup copies of my PowerPoint presentations. Either I burn two CDs or I burn one CD and use a memory stick for the other copy.

I've been doing this for years and recommend everyone do this because with just NEVER know.

Patrick said...

Double DITTO Allyn! Being the paranoid type I have mine on the hard drive, a flash drive, and a portable microdrive. I also carry around my own laser pointer, remote advance, serial cable extender (hate the recessed serial ports on lap tops) and several cable converters.