Seminar bullies!!!

It’s that dreaded moment. You’ve booked in for a two day seminar, arrived at a politically correct time (neither too early nor too late) and after lurking around the coffee table, drinking copiously to deal with early morning footballers eye syndrome (one at home, one away) you enter the holiest of holies…..the room where the presenter will….present. It’s very hushed in there and as you enter, your footballer’s eyes (at least the one that’s working) dart around the room to see where you think might be a good place to sit. It’s a challenge and a wrong decision as this point could spell dreary hours of listening to monologues of “I did it my way” from an enthusiastic fellow attendee….plus you’ve paid for the privilege!

I have my tatty ol briefcase with me and use it as some sort of comfort blanket, while I slink across the back wall, planning where I will park myself. All the keen ones are at the front, with their papers, pamphlets, dulux paint charts and model kit homes proudly displayed. I’ve always believed if you sit too near to the teacher, they might get you involved with some mad experiment to prove their theory of housing relativity and perform hugely complex three-dimensional math to prove how their method in choosing the next boom suburb will work for all mankind!!! So, the front rows out! Well, if you first look at the front row, you then have to go to the back one and it’s sort of the reverse isn’t it? There sits the shifty lot, the sceptics and the seminar saboteurs – professional hecklers, rent-a-mob and those prone to frequent visits to restrooms (presumably for a rest?). Being the simpleton that I am, I assume that the most normal people will be found somewhere in the middle, sorta near the front – eager, but restrained, enthusiastic but not evangelistic…perhaps even sane?! I see a seat next to a middle-aged man who is ruffling some papers as if he is an ex croupier fresh out of Las Vegas. He seems to be dropping things frequently and muttering to himself as he stoops to pick them up. Yes, he’s the most normal I think – I’ll sit next to him!

I make a quick dash for the seat, in case some other savvy attendee has had the same thoughts about MY chair and claim it. I feel the urge to start swinging my case around to clear my path, just in case any nifty nelly gets in my way. “Oooooh, is it Clay?” I am stopped in my tracks by one of the staff “…you can’t enter without your name badge”. I see a huge pin heading toward my chest, with a mad grimace on the face of the pinner (me being the pinnee). My first reaction is to get her in a half nelson, followed by a death headlock and finally a slam-dunk. Out of the corner of my eye, I see two people approach MY seat….MY SEAT!!! The whole seminar is over for me, I won’t be able to learn anything if I can’t sit in THAT seat! I’ll have to ask for a discount, as my ability to learn has been impaired.

I look down at my new fashion accessory – a seminar name badge. The name badge is huge – I mean, H U G E…..the presenter must be myopic I think to myself. Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t sit too near the front – he’d be able to see who I was – I’ll sit nearer the back with the ‘others’. I find a seat a settle in. Another middle-aged man quickly joins me to my left and a young mother on my right. We introduce ourselves and start excavating a small site around our seat. Bags are placed carefully, pens poised at the ready and notebooks, calculators and assorted lollies are places strategically for the onslaught that lies ahead.

I have obviously been to too many seminars where the speaker is announced with trumpets, brass bands and whazooos, as it took me quite a while to realise that the show had already started (2-3 hours! – too busy placing pens et al). By the time I was tuned in, we were heading off for a coffee break (a ploy to get us all over-caffeined so we would become delirious and sign on any dotted line presented!). I had the opportunity to talk with my two table partners and find out a little more about them. We talked politely, me making my usual mad jokes and commentaries. I didn’t realise that they were edging away from me! With the bashing of the gong, our presence in the inner sanctum was summoned for and we all dutifully shuffled in, feeling all the more relaxed.

Over the next couple of days, we had opportunity to meet more attendees, chat about God, Life and Housing and generally network, hand out calling cards like confetti at a wedding and talk to the guru’s amongst us. During lunch, I sat on a table with some people I hadn’t met before and while I tucked into my buffet marvel, I sat and listened to the ‘guru’ on our table. The word me, I and myself seemed to crop up a lot. A few others joined in and before I managed to get to dessert, it would have been a bun-fight if the table had had any buns! What had started out as “Well Magoo, what do you do?” had turned into “NO, NO, NO….you can’t DO THAT”. I knew I should have stuck with those sitting up the front…these heathen! I sat munching on my jelly and fruit… cake, cheesecake and something else, while the slog-fest went on. Eventually, several left in disgust at the investing ignorance being displayed and vowed to prove ‘em all wrong by becoming bigger than Ben Hur in the investing world. I thought now would be a good time to start singing that old favourite “I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmonyyyy….” But I managed to restrain myself. Instead, after licking thoroughly my dessert bowl, I found I was left with just one lady at the table with me.

“Oh, you survived then?” I chuckled. She had been very quite and had, in a very lady like manner, kept herself ‘nice’ during the slanging match.

We spent some time talking and, more importantly, listening to each other. It was nice to be able to ask a question and be genuinely interested in the answer, whether or not it was how you perceived it to be. She spoke of how many of the concepts she hadn’t quite understood and also felt as if a lot of the material was maybe for people who were in a better position to use it than she. As we spoke more, it dawned on both of us, that it was nothing to do with the material presented but rather the attitude of some of the others that caused a bit of a problem.

I left that seminar learning more about myself and how I communicate than just what I communicate.

All of us start somewhere. And that somewhere is different from everyone else. All of us head somewhere for a reason – and that reason is different for all of us too. My starting point, my journey and my destination are all exactly that – my own. The mistake several of our fellow attendees had made at the table earlier was that their way should be everyone else’s way. It’s funny how our personal success can be used as either a service or a sword for others. It’s so easy to intimidate and ’bully’ others by your success. People try and create pecking orders, based upon their age, experience, how many deals they have done and how they pulled off that last beauty. It’s never said in that way, but maybe unknowingly, others who are just starting are pushed off the road due to this heavy-handed, ‘let me tell you all about me’ declarations. Of course, I have hammed this up in the re-telling but only to make a point. Our experience and knowledge is only of use to others if it’s used in a way to best serve their dreams and their goals, rather than to seek an applause from others. We all need to be admired and well thought of….but using success in your investment techniques, triumphs and strategies to extract this from others can be damaging for those still in a position where they are asking many questions.

I left with a renewed sense of using any success I may have as being my personal reward for my journey and goals. I get to enjoy them. When I speak to others, I now realise that what they really want and need to hear is not how it worked for me or how good I have it but how can I help them make it work for them and assist them so that they can have it good too. Let’s all enjoy our personal success and use our experience to serve others in getting where they want to go to – not where we have arrived at.

This forum is one of the few places where the sense of community tends to keep this sort of bully-boy at bay. I don’t accuse anyone of doing it, just that those I most admire on this forum are those that I perhaps know the least about ….. their experience and knowledge is used to serve me, not for me to applaud them. Thanks for those of you who do that – I hope to join your ranks.

p.s: I still think sitting in the middle of the room is best – but some would say it’s sitting on the fence?!

You write the most beautiful prose!

Never mind investing - perhaps you could write the next best-seller and retire to the Whitsundays in luxury!

..."I left with a renewed sense of using any success I may have as being my personal reward for my journey and goals. I get to enjoy them. When I speak to others, I now realise that what they really want and need to hear is not how it worked for me or how good I have it but how can I help them make it work for them and assist them so that they can have it good too. Let’s all enjoy our personal success and use our experience to serve others in getting where they want to go to – not where we have arrived at...."

I have just today had the pleasure of hearing from a new friend that his offer on a house which I found for him had been accepted.

I know that he will be happy restoring and developing this property. I also know that some of the ideas and alternative perspective which I introduced him to have contributed to his comfort level and encouraged him to understand that he not only can do it but can do it comfortably and with his own particular style.

The fact that he rang me 'first' after he heard from the agent is rather special, and a significant personal reward.

I can't tell him what to do. But I can suggest that there are many ways to achieve his own goals.

During the course of the afternoon, climbing down off the ladder to urge him millimetres along the process path, I asked him 'What is your business plan?"

He looked startled. What business plan?

So I reminded him that his business plan was 'Buy properties, Sell properties, Make money'. It was not - buy properties, renovate / work frantically / distract himself / hope to make money.

He looked radiant when he understood the message. He has bought to the maximum he can borrow. There is no money to do renovations. but by keeping the plan in mind, he realised that there is another way to achieve his plan during this financial year.

You're right, Clay. 'Helping' other people is not about ramming our own personal mode of operations down their throats. But it is about helping another person see that what suits them is personal and particular to them, even if they can't quite identify what that is from where they are sitting now.

In my limited experience of life, I have sometimes noticed that when I or another are at the most vehement about something, it is when there are concealed doubts. Shakespeare's famous virgin 'methinks thou doth protest too much (about her innocence)'?

Do we 'protest too much' when really we are not sure?

I really enjoyed your post, and will no doubt read it a number of times. I, too, am guilty of bullying. But I am also proud that I encourage others to reach for their own personal stars.

The world is full of abundance, and there is plenty to go around. Encouraging another person in their quest to sample all that life has to offer - which includes active investing - is an excitement and a delight.

Thank you clay

Looks like we have a couple of soul-mates here.;) Clay, I really think you should have done the post in a colour like crimson and then it would be purple prose. :) BTW, that's not meant to be taken as sarcastic. I enjoy good prose, too. And it was damn good!

On a serious note I've never found a seminar seat that you can "settle" in. Usually, they are about as comfortable as waiting-room chairs.

Other issue here is does this thread belong in this forum or Coffee Lounge? If the discussion was about the contents of the seminar then no problem. But there isn't much practical info in this thread so far, so I'm leaning towards moving it across to CL unless Clay can add another post to this thread with some good advice or tips he heard at the seminar. Looking forward to the next exciting instalment.

Regards, Mike
It may even deserve a place amongst the more serious topics in the "Information Resources" forum.

"Discussion and reviews of books, magazines, seminars, websites, software and other information resources for investors. Covering all areas of property, investment and finance, for education, information, analysis and management."

We're discussing seminars !
You are incorrect Sim..

ALL good, nay, fantastic, posts belong in the Coffee Lounge...

I therefore move that we move it there and may move it there myself. ;)

asy :D

You most definately have NOT been a bully!! I really appreciate all those that share their stories. The best way to learn is by seeing/hearing what others have done. Even if I don't do what someone else has, I still appreciate hearing of their experiences. What works for one, does not work for all. Even brags are good - where someone shares some good news, or shows us a success they have just had. I'm sure I am not the only one who loves reading these type of posts. They can be inspiring. On the forum, we can choose whether or not to read a particular post - so the more diversity of experiences shared the better!!