What's more grueling than a 15-hour day? Try FIVE 15-hour days in a row! Yes, you're doing the math correctly: 75 hours of training from 9am to midnight five days in a row. That was the Tony Robbins Business Mastery program I attended last week. It was an amazing experience and there were two immediate take-aways that I want to share with you today.
First, regardless of what I learned about business development, the bonus for me was that it turned out to be a MASTER CLASS in the art and science of maximizing engagement on a Zoom video conference event.
You think it's hard to run a 2-hour sales training or 6 to 8-hour board meeting via video that's as good an experience as it would have been in person? His programs are usually 12-15 hours per day for multiple days in a row, with 10,000 people or more, and they're done in stadiums. But like everyone else, they had to figure out how to go virtual while ensuring that the quality of not only the content but the overall experience was 100% on-brand. And go virtual they did!
To give you a visual (screenshots and recordings were prohibited), he built a $15 million studio with two gigantic curved screens facing each other, each 20′ high and around 60′ wide. (From an aerial shot they would have looked like a pair of parentheses). Instead of the usual 16-25 people in “Brady Bunch” style squares on the screen, there were literally thousands of faces of all of us participants staring back at him from both screens, as he stood between them, along with his cameras and other equipment, which was readily visible during the occasional super-wide-angle overhead shot.
Yet even with the most state-of-the-art customized technology on the planet, even Tony Robbins had the occasional technical glitches.
For example, when he wanted to call on a participant for 1:1 coaching, the person's image would pop up in a large window on one of the screens, and the crew was supposed to unmute the participant's microphone. (We couldn't unmute ourselves for obvious reasons.) For the first few speakers, it sometimes took 5 to 10 seconds to get the mic to connect, and in TV time, that is an eternity, especially when his M.O. is all about maintaining high energy and momentum for maximum productivity.
“Hey guys, we need to unmute people faster,” Tony would call to his crew. By the third time, the diplomacy was still there but the urgency and frustration were starting to creep into his voice. They eventually figured it out and things ran smoothly.
There were other little snafus too, like breakout rooms not opening properly for some people and the occasional link not working (there were a LOT of links). But his team was on it, and they eventually got everything running like a Swiss watch, as the saying goes, and the overall program was a phenomenally – if not flawlessly – designed and executed production.
Why am I telling you this?
Because as many of you have heard me say during my Virtual Influence programs for your companies and organizations, when running a virtual program, the question is not whether something goes wrong, but rather what goes wrong and how you handle it.
The moral of the story is Lesson #2: You do not need to be “perfect” on video. But you do need to try to prevent as many problems as possible, and when one sneaks through, handle it with poise and pivot as needed.
Personally, I found that little lesson to be incredibly validating.
And it's not just on video — ALL leaders make mistakes. What's most important is how you handle them and what you learn from them.
That's one of the big lessons Loren Howard, founder and CEO of Prime Plus Mortgages, shares on this week's episode of the Speaking to Influence podcast.
Loren is a serial entrepreneur who has built everything from pharmacies to mortgage companies. One of his biggest lessons for every leader pertains to how to handle those mistakes, especially the big ones: “Apologize first, and apologize fast.” Tune in to hear why this is such an important show of strength, and how to do it effectively.
Lastly, a great success this past week was our fundraiser in support of The Adoption Center, to help more children in the foster care system find their new “forever families”.
To all of you who donated, a gigantic THANK YOU from my heart to yours. We raised over $14,000 in just over a day, which is amazing! And the best part is that it is never too late to help — we're leaving the link open so if you'd like to help a child finally find the people they'll get to call “mom and dad,” please visit give.adopt.org/team/348380 to be a guardian angel today.
Here's to your success,