Our employees have been host to a variety of online and on-site presentations over the years. We’ve rounded up a few funny stories for your reading pleasure below. Enjoy!
John Panzica, Transfer Solutions Specialist
Since we have to schedule our online webinars before we receive our conference travel schedule, I inevitably have webinars that have to be delivered while I am on the road or at a conference. I have had cases where I’d run to my hotel room to deliver the webinar. One of the most interesting ones was actually at the CollegeSource Annual Conference one year. There was a group that had difficulty scheduling a common time for all their members to get together for this webinar. So, even though I knew it would be during our conference, I was able to shoehorn the webinar in to make it happen. I ran up to my room (I should have used the conference’s Tranquility Room offered to presenters, in hindsight) and delivered the webinar—no problem (or so I thought). The baby was taking a nap and the boys were watching a movie (my family was with me at our family-friendly conference). I had to go out on the balcony to give my presentation! Sadly, the balcony overlooked the parking lot, rather than the beach.
Other “odd” webinar locations include a coffee shop, a Dairy Queen parking lot, my car in 111 degree weather with the windows rolled up to reduce traffic noise, and an airport arrivals lobby (I relied on the noise cancelling features of my headset to block out the flight arrival and departure announcements, as well as the “do not leave any bags unattended” announcements).
Perhaps the cream of the crop: I delivered a webinar from home—so, not really a “unique” location, but the circumstances made it a memorable one. My wife was overseas and we had a friend watching our baby daughter at the time (we hadn’t enrolled her in preschool then, although we did the very next week as a result of this particular event!). The friend that watched my daughter contacted me that morning and said she was ill and couldn’t watch her that day. My father-in-law had previously volunteered to come over and keep her busy upstairs while I was downstairs, so I sent him a text… but I never got a response. The webinar was scheduled for 1:00pm, so I also thought—worst-case—I could get her down for a nap. Well (you guessed it), none of that worked out, so I delivered the webinar with my daughter in a carrier on my back. I told the folks right up front what the situation was in case I had to mute (or bail). She interrupted only once (started trying to grab my headset right off my head) and ended up falling asleep… in the last 30 seconds of the hour-long webinar!!! The funniest thing was that one of the attendees posted a comment in a later webinar that she missed my daughter being in the webinar! We sure do have some great, understanding, clients! To make it even funnier: as soon as I got her upstairs and down for her nap, I checked my phone—the text to my father-in-law had never even sent!
Shelly Jackson, Transfer Solutions Specialist
A very memorable webinar was one I had to conduct at my parents’ house in Phoenix. I explained to my parents what I needed to do and that I needed one hour of quiet time. I sat in their dining room and thought they would just be quiet for the hour. But no, especially my dad, he had to keep asking, “What’s she doing? Who’s she talking to?” And my mom would chime in, “I don’t know, she sure is talking a lot,” etc. Luckily, my husband was there and he could take them aside and let them know I needed it to be quiet… It was a nightmare!
Troy Holaday, President
I once gave the first half on an (unintentionally) online presentation from the side of the road and then whipped into a hotel and borrowed a board room to give the other half, all because I drove in the wrong direction for my meeting – about two hours in the wrong direction! I’m pretty sure that’s the most embarrassing career moment for me – admitting to a room full of 40+ people (many of whom had driven in for the training) that I was apparently directionally-challenged.
Melani Pratt, Senior Account Manager
My “cake-winner” is from an on-site visit. I nearly missed my connection in D.C. (and as I was sitting on the plane breathing a sigh of relief for having made the connection, I had the very sad realization that my luggage would not be as lucky.)
As anticipated, my luggage did not arrive. I made a late-night trip to Walgreens for shopping essentials (read: hair care products and eye-liner… those are the two absolute non-negotiable items I must have prior to standing in front of an audience. Clean clothes are nice… but optional.) Given the presentation was at 8:30am and I decided clean clothes would, in fact, be nice to have, I arrived on campus early and bought a shirt with their mascot on it from the bookstore.
As I was setting up, one of their VPs thought I was a student worker from the IT department… which prompted me to tell the story of my lost luggage and bookstore shopping spree.
Everyone enjoyed a good laugh (and, for the record, the school moved forward with implementing our products!).
Donald Meyers, Senior Implementation Specialist
A client had DARS (now uAchieve) before there was a COBOL version, and made their own versions—they had different kinds of computers that ran different languages. They had a big meeting to look at student information system options, and one of the things they needed was information on degree audit. I was scheduled for a presentation at 10:30am, so I showed up about a half hour prior. They let me know they were “a little behind schedule” and had me wait (in the press box in the football stadium in Florida, which was in the sun and not air-conditioned, in August). I finally got the word… about 4:30pm. I began by reminding them what they currently had was an earlier version of our software, and that it’s progressed quite a way… About two minutes in, someone said “So, you’re saying what you have will do everything we have now and a lot more. Thank you, that’s all we need.”