At Convening Leaders 2013 in Orlando last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Gina Rudan for a Convene Presents session. Gina is a professional coach whose Practical Genius program — which includes the book Practical Genius: The Real Smarts You Need to Get Your Passions and Talents Working for You — is focused on the idea that “we all have our very own innate genius and intellectual sweet spot located somewhere between our heart and mind.”
Our session began at 3:15 last Tuesday afternoon, and as Gina and I stood in front of the stage about 15 minutes before start time, looking out over the 200-seat, theater-style room set, we were a bit worried about filling all those rows, and about how the relaxed, intimate conversation we were planning on would be affected by an under-capacity crowd. So we decided to takes things into our own hands. We took the first few rows of chairs and rearranged them into a loose circle, and moved our own seats from a small elevated stage down to floor level, at the head of the circle.
As attendees came into the room, we welcomed them and invited them to join us in the circle. Not everyone felt comfortable getting up close and personal with us, but a handful of brave souls did, and a more-than-usual number of other attendees filled in seats toward the front of the room. As a result, Gina and I were able to create the cozy atmosphere we wanted — and our interview was the better for it, I think.
The overriding lesson of Practical Genius isn’t exactly to go with your gut; it’s more like allowing your gut to be informed by your intellect, and/or vice versa. Which is what we did for our Convene Presents session — our instincts told us that the room set wasn’t quite right for our content, and we adapted accordingly.