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The Big Show

Tom Kaiser, Senior Editor

By Tom Kaiser, Senior Editor
November 26, 2013
Filed under Tom Kaiser

I’m a bit of a curmudgeon, and I’ve never been genuinely excited to attend a keynote address even though I’ve seen many. It comes from the same part of my brain that makes me cringe when I see books promising to help readers “become your best self.” That expression alone raises my blood pressure and has me scrambling for the exits. I have to confess, though, that I was genuinely moved by Jeffrey Gitomer’s keynote at last week’s Marine Dealer Conference & Expo.

What’s wrong with me? What have I become? At the risk of sounding like a total Kool-Aid drinker, the answer is that I became energized.

Even amid an event overflowing with useful, interesting information on becoming more effective and understanding the psychology of sales, I was most moved by the softest advice presented during the week — focus on having fun, strive to make people happy, spend time on gestures that are truly heartfelt and skip everything else that isn’t. Gitomer made me excited to get out there and carry forth with more authority, both in work and in my personal life.

Several dealers told me how excited they were to see Gitomer before MDCE had begun. These were industry friends whose opinions I respected, and their enthusiasm was undeniable. They piqued my interest, but it was all about the big show, seeing his passion, laughing at his smart jokes and feeling his advice sink in.

Like many in the audience, I have a lot of energy and a lot of ambition. And I also have a lot of deadlines and ways to focus in on the day-to-day, rather than zooming out and looking at things from a wider perspective.

There’s definitely something to be said for a well-presented pep talk — more than I would have expected. While I walked in as a skeptic, I left with genuine goose bumps and a desire to smile more and focus on making personal connections with everybody I work with.

I’m even considering buying one of his books — and not just to put those cute grandkids through college. In this season of consumerism, I’m grateful for the ability to shop online. No offense to the self help authors of the world, but I still won’t be caught dead walking around with a book promising to give me a “YES! Attitude,” but as it turns out, I would actually read it. I might even like it.

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