Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mom, Dad, and Warren Miller. The best presenting advice ever.

I love my mom and dad. I think they are amazing. My dad just turned 70 this month and he hikes and skis and is involved in his community- he’s on the Truckee airport board, running the local cleanup day, and he’s even Santa to about 300 kids every year. Yep, my dad is Santa.

My mom rocks, too. She loves to travel, so much that she was my roomie at CUE Rockstar Napa, painting during the day and enjoying Napa dining in the evening with me. And last year, the night before the Truckee Rockstar camp, my parents opened their home to 20 complete strangers- conference presenters and attendees for a BBQ, croquet, and conversation. 

One of the things I love most about my mom is how thoughtful she is with gifts. At my age, I don’t even expect gifts anymore, but she always seems to select just the right thing: a running watch, the perfect Life Is Good t-shirt, or a yummy bottle of wine for a special occasion.

But one of my favorite gifts ever wasn’t even for me. My mom subscribed to Sierra Heritage magazine for my husband one year for Christmas. My husband is a history buff and this fun and funky magazine published in Auburn always has a great history story, beautiful photography, and ideas for local hikes and vacations. We found an idea for a great trip to Mammoth in this magazine! It also features a column by Warren Miller, one of the oldest names in the world of skiing, who has been producing ski action movies since 1949. This month’s column by Warren Miller has some of the best advice for presenters EVER. 

In his column this month “Why Not?” Reflections with Warren Miller, he talks about getting his start.

      In the Sun Valley Opera House in November of 1950, thirteen people paid a dollar to see my first feature length ski film, “Deep and Light”. That meant there were 337 empty seats. My income for the evening was 40% of that thirteen dollars, or $4.20.
      After the show that night, I learned a couple of very important lessons from the theater manager that I have never forgotten: 1) Entertain the people that show up and feel sorry for the people who did not and assume that they had not heard about the showing of the film, and 2) You will work all of your life to be a success overnight. Since I have not worked my entire life yet, this lack of success is apparent as I am still writing My Biography.

Warren’s rule #1 I think is the best presenting advice ever. Last year, the night before my first ever Rockstar, I was terrified. Terrified of the shreds, and even more terrified that no one would attend my session. I wish someone had told me his rule before last summer, even though all of my sessions were well-attended and I was relieved! But in Napa this past February, and even the last Saturday session at #CUE14 in Palm Springs, some of my sessions were small. But I loved them! And I did what he said- and gave the best I had to the awesome people who joined me. I love Warren’s advice, and even if just one person joins me, we will have an amazing time learning together. If no one joins me, you’ll find me heading to a different room to join in on the fun. 

I love Warren's advice. Don’t sweat the size of the crowd. Just be awesome!


  1. Fantastic advice. I presented at a conference last year and had 3 attendees. We had the best time, and they were able to be personally involved with the content. It was much more relaxing for me too, as opposed to 100 people in the audience! Present on!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Sally! We even did old school back-channeling in the smaller sessions--- just talking! By far my favorite thing about conferences is just meeting people!