Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Peter Hillary Review

Finally have found some down time during the buys Holiday season to post patron reviews from the Peter Hillary engagement that took place on November 30th. Before sharing the collective patron feedback, thought it appropriate to share my observations from backstage, etc.

Mr. Hillary was a complete delight to work with. We had heard he was very accommodating, easy going, flexible, and inspirational. From our standpoint he lived up to his reputation and than some. From the point he landed on American soil to the time he left us, Mr. Hillary was a complete class act: respectful, thankful, interested, engaged, and a complete pleasure to deal with.

Knowing that during his expeditions, Mr. Hillary might spend months at a time out in small groups and countless days and nights alone, I expected him to be a very quiet, almost anti-social type. However, to my surprise, our conversation was lively, genuine, and easy flowing.

While his conversational strengths surprised me, it is not what I will remember most of Peter Hillary. I was amazed at how lean and wiry the man is from a physical stature. He may have been one of the leanest people I had come across; but you could tell he had major strength. It all made sense, knowing he has been using his body to climb to the highest peaks our globe has to offer; but still amazing to see up close and personal.

At any rate, below details how the collective voice of the patrons judged the engagement, followed by some quotes from individual attendees:

All judged on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best / 1 being the worst)

Overall Engagement 4.6 (highest of season)

Lecture 4.6 (highest of the season)

Q&A 4.4

Lighting 4.3 (highest of season)

Acoustics 4.0

91% suggested it was "money well spent" (highest of the season)

92% suggested the engagement met their expectations (highest of the season)

"Mr. Hillary was one of the most entertaining speakers we have had in the series (and we have been there since it began). Going into the night I was not sure what to expect, nor was I anticipating much. However he did an excellent job and was well prepared at entertaining such a group. Great job."

"Mr. Hillary was a very good and interesting speaking. A great story teller. He kept my interest like a child being read an exciting bedtime story. He acted out scenes that added excitement and clarity. The videos were beautiful and you could just feel the cold and the wind. What an interesting father and fantastic to grow up in that environment."

"An engaging speaker, but Mr.Hillary is another mountain climber. Reaching the top of Everest is now old hat and I don't think he added anything to the crowd."

"Peter Hillary was one of the best speakers I've heard. I loved that he spoke without notes and came out from behind the podium. His stories were not only informative but made me feel like I was on that ice step drinking tomato soup with him! Loved, loved, loved him."

Based on the feedback we received from attendees, Peter Hillary is a speaker who I believe supports our theory about our Series. In general, patrons sign up for the series for the first time based on the big names and personalities that we may offer. However, most patrons renew their subscriptions based on the performance from the speakers and personalities they know little or nothing about.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Laura Bush Review

Somehow the following recap fell off our blog which was posted in early November...it has been re-posted for your review.

Have had a few days to look through all of the feedback from the Laura Bush engagement and before sharing, wanted to give you a couple of observations I had on my own.

I found Mrs. Bush to be quite charming, warm, and down to earth. She spent a good twenty minutes with my wife and family talking about very normal things: grandchildren, family traditions, normal, ordinary things. I came to the conclusion that while she played the part of First Lady very well and has the ability to "politic" with the best of them, her real comfort is to play the role of mother, grandmother, and wife. She seems internally wired and motivated by those things closest to her.

A touching moment came as she and her entourage were leaving the VIP / Photo area. A woman who had delivered a number of student letters to Mrs. Bush earlier in the day was late to the VIP area and had missed her opportunity to take a picture with Mrs. Bush. Recognizing the woman, and realizing she was upset, Mrs. Bush stopped into her tracks and turned right around (entourage in tow) to return to the VIP area and accommodate the tardy teacher.

Of all of the speakers we have hosted (36 and counting), Mrs. Bush brought the most security and personal assistants to Sacramento. Three different assistants reviewed ahead of time all of the questions asked during our Q&A sessions which was something very new to us. Bomb sniffing dogs were used twice prior to our engagement during the day inside the lobby and seating area. Certainly not my position to pass judgement on all of the security and handling, but very different from any speaker we had hosted in the past.

The Bush program scores were as follows:(1=LOWEST 5=HIGHEST)

The Overall Engagement = 4.2

The Lecture Portion = 4.0

The Q+A Portion = 4.0

Lighting = 4.3

Acoustics = 4.3

A few quotes from patrons about the program:

"I appreciated her delving into her personnal past. I wish she had been a little more forthcoming about some of her responses during the Q&A session."

"Her speech and the Q & A session were very practiced. Although Mrs. Bush has a great sense of humor, no real passion shown through. I read her book beforehand and much of her "speech" was lifted from the book. Perhaps billing it as a "reading from Laura Bush" would have been more accurate. I was disappointed."

"Laura Bush was gracious, warm, witty, and lovely!! She is the wife of one of the most polarizing presidents of my lifetime, and yet her talk was one that everyone could enjoy no matter what you thought of George W. Bush. The group of women I attend with, half of whom are politically conservative, and half very liberal, all loved Laura!! "