The Intermission was my favorite part

The REALTOR Awards of Excellence Gala happened Saturday night.

The Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS (GNAR) can throw the BEST of the BEST for their membership, and last night measured up quite well. The venue was the OMNI Hotel, and the food was beyond anything you might expect at such an event.

215 awards presented in a variety of categories . . . No matter how chic you make the setting, it’s not easy to do this in a manner that’s entertaining (e.g. The Oscars).

Additionally, REALTORS have the attention span of a gnat.

GNAR did quite well and was cruising along at a good clip, and I (and likely many others) was checking the timing and guestimating when the presentation would end, so we could be FREE and have FUN . . . when . . . abruptly everything STOPPED and an announcement was made that there would be a 20 minute intermission.

My first thought was: “WHY?”

Can’t we just push through and get it DONE instead of burning 20 minutes of our evening on a silly INTERMISSION?

I left my chair and began my walkabout to see who I could see in that 20 minute period.

The first person I encountered happened to be one of the organizers for the event, so I asked why the intermission?

She said that they tried an intermission last year because comments from the year prior were that the program was to LONG and BORING . . . and when they asked for comments from last year’s participants, the NUMBER 1 comment was:

“My FAVORITE thing about the event was the INTERMISSION!”

For sure, this could be brutal to hear for the team who spent hours and hours designing every second of the program in intricate detail with a keen eye on making sure that it was entertaining and not bleh!

The answer to the follow-up question: “Why was that your favorite part?” was “We all got a chance to get out of our chairs and go walkabout to the bathroom, to freshen up our drinks, and to see people we seldom see . . . We got to SOCIALIZE and CONNECT with each other.”

Ah yes!

Don’t we all know this about meetings and conventions?

Sure! We might learn a thing or 2 from the “sessions, programs, and keynote speakers, but where the rubber hits the road is WHO we meet and engage while there.

My Father Harrison Owen has done extensive work with Organizational Transformation . . . That is, helping groups of people self-organize around issues and opportunities and get things DONE with amazing efficiency . . . through the use of Open Space Technology.

One of the founding discoveries of this method is that participants in large events tend to get the most benefit during the breaks because they get to mingle and meet new people and new ideas with their multiple brain trust rather than the single brain of the presenter.

When I attend a conference, I seldom allow myself to be trapped in a single session. I generally sit near a door with an easy path to exit because if the presentation isn’t “all that” I can escape and go back to “break mode” for more mingling and brain trust.

Strangely, I’ve actually attended a few multi-day conventions during which I failed to attend ANY sessions . . . and when I got home, I was bursting with energy and more ideas than ever before.

In Open Space, we call this “The Law of 2 Feet”

“If at any time you find yourself in a place where you neither fell like you are contributing or receiving anything of value, then it is up to YOU to use your 2 feet and take yourself to a place where you CAN contribute and/or receive value.”

So . . . Here’s to more “Intermissions!”

If the organizers don’t provide them, and you need a break, I hereby grant you permission to use your 2 feet 🙂

PS – Seth Godin wrote this post about Leap Year (Today is the 29th day of February) in which he asks the reader (us) to “Ask ten people about how they hope to leap…”

So . . .

How do YOU hope to leap?




Published by Barry Owen

Strategist-CEO of Pareto Realty Real estate sales Professional Inviter-Facilitator-Practicer of Open Space Technology Opening safe space for people & organizations to self-organize around issues & opportunities BarryOwen.US Invite-Listen-Love

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1 Comment

  1. Barry, I would like to learn more about your father’s work on ” open space technology ” my Facebook and phone working well but “MSN, my email not working well on computer hope I havre not missed any posts from you

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