Hey, it’s Brad Montgomery. I’m back with another story. So if you’ve been watching, you know that I bring in stories from the road and lessons that I learned from the road to share with you so that we can all learn and make better, more epic, more awesome conventions and meetings.

Well here’s what happened. I was just at this event, and one of their top people, a vice president, could not make it. This vice president had prepared a 25-minute speech, which undoubtedly was going to go long anyway, but couldn’t make it physically. There was some travel problem. All right, so what did they do? Instead of putting him up, they let him record on his web cam a Skype recording and then play this horrible web cam recording for 28 minutes live at the conference. They took 500 people from all around the country, they flew them, they fed them, they housed them, they put them in this valuable time slot, and they chose to take that time and have him show the most boring presentation ever from a Skype web cam recording. Oh, you could almost hear the cell phones coming out of their pockets as they load up Facebook. It was just a complete loss.

In the enthusiasm that had already been started at meeting was gone and the speaker that had to follow that dude, he was another industry speaker really had his work cut out for him because they were completely disengaged. They were the opposite of what we want.

So, all right, what are the lessons? First, you know this right? Don’t play a recording of one of your insiders from this web cam. Don’t do that. Just don’t. But here’s the other part that’s more subtle. The meeting planner was stuck with a pretty awkward position. Undoubtedly, this vice president said, “You know, well I can’t be there, but I’d like to use my time anyway and so I’ll send you a video file.” And the poor meeting planner probably was reporting, you know, this person was up the chain from the meeting planner and it was an awkward place. That dude put her in an awkward place and should not have done that.

But what I would tell a meeting planner is, one, get a little buy-in. The president was there. There were other c-level people there. Talk to them and say, “Here’s the problem. Here’s what this person wants to do. I don’t think it’s a good idea. In fact, I think it’s a horrible idea,” and then you can go back to the vice president with support and say, “We have looked at the options and we have decided that it’s not the best use of our time and that you would be better served, and more importantly your people will be better served if we wait and do it next time in person.” But what I’m saying is you have to make those tough choices, but protect your meeting. No matter what, protect your meeting. Understand that 25 minutes of crappiness isn’t just 25 minutes of crappiness. It’s like an anchor that was pulling the whole boat to a stop. Got it?

All right, my name’s Brad Montgomery. If you have questions about how to make your meeting a success, one of the cool parts about my job is I have literally been to thousands of meetings. I’ve been at thousands of events. I’ve seen a zillion great ideas, and I’ve seen two zillion bad ideas and my job is to share some of them with you. All right, bradmontgomery.com. Thanks. Have a great day.

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