Down went Bert, under the water, as if he had just been plucked for dinner by a great white. After a few seconds of baited breath, with all of us beyond curious as to what had happened, Bert emerged like a submarine class cruise missile. "My damn glasses!" he shouted. "You don't have them on" one of his techs shouted out. "No sh_t," replied Bert, "they were on my head."
It was at this moment we realized, as a member of the production team, that regardless of how much this was going to be Bert's problem of finding his glasses in the pool, this was somehow going to be all of our problems by the next day. "I can't read the cue script without my reading glasses." A quick survey of where Bert had swum calculated about a 90x90' grid - a grid someone was going to have to meticulously scour like a coast guard rescue in order to find his glasses. We needed the show called the next day.
"Bert, you need help looking for them?" someone asked. "No I think I can find them. I'm just going to retrace my steps," he replied. For the next twenty minutes, we witnessed one of the least scientific methods of scanning a pool floor for glasses any of us could possibly imagine. He popped up under a waterfall at one point, nearly drowning above the water. He also managed to scare the daylights out of three twelve-year-old girls as he accidentally popped up in the middle of their pool game.
The search and rescue, if it could be called that, was not going well. It was at this point one of the production coordinators arrived poolside from the ballroom. Standing on the edge of the pool, she looked out and asked, "What's Bert doing?
"He's trying to find his glasses. They were on his head when he jumped in the pool." A quick look down and the coordinator hopped over the edge of the pool and into the water, right where Bert had jumped in. "Are these his glasses?" she asked, coming out of the water with a pair of "old dude" reading glasses.
Now, to us, we had a reached a critical juncture in our journey at the pool: tell Bert he can call off the search, or allow the process to unfold (perhaps for a few hours) until it comes to a final resolution of him finding his glasses placed upon his lounge chair. Luckily for him, we chose the former.
So why are we telling you this story? A story of resorts and technical directors and drama and triumph? Because it has a simple lesson: Sometimes you need to look at your jump off spot to fix what went wrong. It may not be that you are addressing a live audience that is the issue with your event, but in HOW you chose to address them.
The use of stories. Their craftsmanship. Their delivery. Their authenticity. These are crucial tools to enlist for any event. People might not always remember they're wearing their glasses in the pool, but they always remember a great story.
What's yours? Let us help you tell it.