Continuing on in my log on how to become a cruise ship speaker.
I don’t usually get nervous before I talk. But I did this time. Not antsy or anxious. But with high anticipation. The ship is full of young people. Lots and lots of families. I couldn’t be sure who was going to show up. People my parents age. People my age. People with teenagers. College kids. Teenagers. All of them. None of them.
Would there be the 2 people I met at dinner who promised to come? (They didn’t.) Or others? Or nobody?
Not to be disappointed people starting showing up early.
“You here for the talk or to get drunk?” I asked.
“Not sure yet. I will let you know.”
More people. Then more.
“Yay!” I shouted to myself.
I gave late-comers a 2-minute grace period and then started right off.
Nearly all the seats were taken by 5-8 minutes into my talk.
Then the aisle behind the seats started to fill up as people were wanting to get a head start to get into the show. They were quite noisy, so I stepped up the level of my voice a bit. It worked. I got their attention, too.
They were there to get in early to get good seats for the ice show. But I not only got their attention. I kept their attention.
On Social Media?!
Yeah, on Social Media.
What can be so interesting about social media that you can grab the attention of people on vacation?
Why would people interrupt their vacations to hear some old guy talk about something they really don’t know anything about? Why? How? Really?
Yeah, really. You should have been there.
“Wow. I wasn’t expecting that.”
“When is your next one?”
“How many more do lectures do you have?”
“Only two more? How come?!”
“You really are a teacher, aren’t you? I can tell.”
Point: Throw your heart out there and the rest of you will follow. No matter what it is you’re talking about. Or who you are talking to.
My first mission after getting on the ship and getting settled into my stateroom was to find the cruise activity director. S/he was going to tell me my schedule. I was more than half expecting to find some sort of welcome package on my stateroom desk or on my television.
I headed to the guest relations where I met somebody whose name I couldn’t pronounce.
“Oh, you need Jamie. Let me call him for you.”
“Hello, Jamie. I have Mr. Belew here. He is one of your speakers. Oh? Oh? Um. Oh? Okay. Okay.”
“Jamie, says he’ll get in touch with you first chance. Enjoy your cruise.”
8 hours later back in my stateroom. The message light is blinking.
“Hmm… I don’t know anybody on the ship. Jamie!”
“Your first presentation will be on Day 3 in the On Air lounge at 1 pm. Please be there by 12:45 to set up. One of my staff members will meet you there. We will only need you for 3 presentations instead of the 4. The others will be on Day 6 at 4 and Day 7 at 2.”
“Works for me, Jamie. I can do less than you asked. I also brought a couple of extra presentations just in case you need more than you had planned on, too. I am here to serve you and the ship’s passengers.”
“That’s great, Bill. That’s really great. Thanks. Let’s meet when we get a chance.”
And that’s that.
I scouted out the On Air Lounge to get a feel of the place. It’s a lounge. With 4 chairs to a table and a bar on one side, disco lights and quotes from Elvis, Stevie Wonder, Cher and other artists on the wall written in silver on a dark blue background. Lots of LCD screens for when they do karaoke in the evenings.
Point – Be ready for anything. I am ready.
It wasn’t till I got to the hospitality desk at the cruise ship port check-in that I felt remotely important.
Out of the shuttle, after stopping at a 7-11 to buy gas and waiting for a couple of Disney Cruisers to finish their shopping sprees at the food court at the airport AND at 7-11. What could they possibly need? Mickey and the gang were waiting for them!
I followed the people until I got to someone who looked like he knew something. He didn’t. Then another. She didn’t know either. Then another. Still getting blanks looks, but definitely getting closer to the ship.
“Can I see your booking ticket?”
“Um, all I have is this assignment letter.”
“You’d better go to the hospitality desk.”
“Hello, Mr. Belew. We’re glad to have you here. Please fill out these forms and we’ll have you on the ship shortly.”
” … ”
“Just enjoying the moment. Thanks for your help.”
I think I was one of the first 20 people to get on the ship. Partly because I got here so early. I left the night before to get here. But mostly because the hospitality desk was waiting for me. And I know this because they take your picture right before you board, then post them in the lounge by time of boarding so you can find them. Yup, top 20.
Lunch on the ship was being served at 11 and my stateroom was going to be ready at 1. What to do but head for the food.
Point – cruise ship speakers are taken care of. Next it is my turn to give back. After all, that is why I am here.