Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sticky Thank You Talk

With winter over, there will be a wave of conference and conventions that we all will be attending. Many of us maybe speaking at one of these conventions. The Women's Conference will be happening this month in many centers. We received a few queries about how to make a sticky "Thank You" talk, so everyone at Sabha.ology got together and opened up a packet of Shayano Methi Khakhra and did a little brainstorming.

The Problem
"Thank You" talks can really be boring at worse or something to write off at best. They can be a staid denouement to an otherwise nice event. This is because everyone knows what is going to happen. They have heard this talk many many times before.You will thank Maharaj and Swami. You will thank the speakers. You will thank the volunteers. You will thank the audience. People will clap. You will sit down. They also know what variation you may use. If things take awhile they know there is a haar vidhi coming. They also just heard the speakers speak, so they know who you are going to thank. Really, this talk only gets exciting if you mess up. Forget a speaker, now people perk up. Forget to thank Maharaj and Swami - ohh that's exciting. Really, the problems boils down to creating something unexpected.
The Solution (at least our version)
Our solution to the problem of creating something unexpected was to rely on visuals. They can really cause information gaps. Also we introduce emotion, we build suspense - will my picture be up there? Specifically for this year's Women's Conference, we thought the theme of bridging cultures could be best articulated by starting with one sentence that shows how we bridge culture by connecting the past with the present and building a brighter future. Then show a baby picture of yourself. Now, thank Maharaj and Swami, but show a picture out of Ghanshyam Charitra and the Satsang exam books of baby or child Maharaj and Swami. Now thank the speaker, but show baby pictures of each speaker. Here, take the time to add one sentence where you say something like, "Today, they showed us how to bridge two cultures together through their perceptive talks. We can see that they have been living this ideal for a long time." Next, thank the volunteers, but showing - you guessed it - a collage of all the volunteers baby pictures. Trust us, at this point people will be paying attention trying to figure who is who.

Visualize yourself sitting through the thank you talk described above. That would be something you would remember for a long time. Unexpected would wake you up, emotion (touching, funny) would tie in the memory, the story of each person would be tied in with the theme. A very nice way to end a conference.

Honorable Mentions
A few that fell on the brainstorming room floor. After the initial idea collection, these seemed lacking. Maybe even too difficult to implement, or maybe did not go with the idea. However, if you can make them work, let us know.
  • Show pictures of each person in a bridge of culture setting, like wearing Indian clothes at the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Tell a story for each person or individual you thank that is personal and draws emotions related to the theme.
  • Show pictures from the conference itself that are funny. Something like that takes from a show for each speaker.
  • Tell a fictional story of how "a friend" went through the entire conference. Weave in the story humorous observations (e.g. if it was cool in the main hall, say how the friend drove all the way back to another state to grab a sweater), and within this story, weave your thanks you's.

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