Leadership Training Seminar? Really?

Standing just beside the buffet table, with my back facing the large bowl of tropical punch, I gulped down another cup of the alcoholic juice and planned on spending the next 15 minutes just pretending to be waiting for someone. I was just trying to enjoy my own company amidst the crowd. I hated being there. I had to borrow a suite and hated wearing a neck tie; So, I took it off half way on my 1st glass. And now this petite Chinese girl on her best looking business-casual dress (that she wears everyday), came up to me with the biggest insincere smile and started chatting away.

“Hi! I’m Jade, are you enjoying the seminar so far?”

It was break time before the business/leadership seminar and boy! was it beginning to feel like one big pyramiding scam.

Before I could answer her, she continued “I bet you are! Well, here, we treat each other as one big happy family. We help each other and share our business experiences, strategies, tips, and practically whatever.” She giggles right here. I couldn’t help but smile. I guess out of respect. She continued on to talk and talk and my thoughts drifted to the well endowed woman far behind us who looked like she was going to be the next speaker. She was reviewing her cue cards. I started to stare at her while still nodding at every sentence the Jade is still blurting out. Miss “endowed” noticed me and I quickly diverted my sight to little Miss Jade, who was still talking with all the gestures and wandering eyes.

One pointer I’d like to tell her then was that… Eye contact is a big deal when you’re trying to uhmmm… “Convince” someone. At least look like you’re sincere and communication is a conversation, not a one sided babble. I quickly listened to Jade’s freshly blurted out words.

“Oh no, it’s never about the money.”

I quickly dove in with “Yes! Exactly! It’s always passion, experience, smarts and connections! The money simply follows.”

“Yes!” I could have sworn she jumped a little probably feeling that she was able to connect with me.

“Anyway” I told her in a stressed tone. “I think we’re going to start with our next speaker soon, I better run to the men’s room before it starts.”

Jade simply replied “okay! Sure! You have my number right?” I looked at her and threw a “I-think-so” smile while I dashed towards the exit.

Upon my desperate exit, I saw Nicole reading the bulletin board just across the hall. So I walked over to her. I knew she was more of looking around and observing the people around her than just reading the articles posted on the board. How? I’d say peripheral vision and glass reflectors to name two.

I greeted her with “Ahh, So the dance off is tomorrow night right?” She turned to look at me, acting a bit surprised and a clueless “What?”

I pointed to the small poster just in front of her stating “Alumni’s Dance Off Contest” with all the details boldly and colourfully printed.

Nicole replied with an “Oh… yeah, it is…” but upon quickly reading the date which stated that the event was actually yesterday she lightly punched my right elbow.

“So what else do you do besides tease people?” She asked me. I smiled and asked back “So what else do you do besides not reading a poster you appear to be reading?” She smirked and gestured us to walk towards the lobby.

The crowd was slowly moving towards the hall where I had just exited a while ago. Seemed like the seminar was about to continue, but Nicole and I went against the flow. When we reached the front building exit, overlooking the parking lot, we saw how the sun had already slipped away and the night crept amongst the dim street lamps. We stood there for the next minute in silence, both knowing what we were there for…fresh air, figuratively. I lifted my right arm to read the time on my watch.

“It’s time to head back in?” I asked her.

We simply let out a heavy sigh.

To be continued on next post!

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