Every once in a while you get yourself involved in something that’s
way beyond your wildest dreams. The Bakersfield Business
Conference is one of those once-in-a-lifetime events.
It all started about four years ago, when George Martin, the managing
partner of the law firm Borton, Petrini & Conron read my “Time
Management for Dummies” book when he was flying from London to
He liked my ‘Clean Desk Approach’ so much that he invited me to
do a time management presentation to his law firm in January 1998.
Fast foreword to October, 2001. Out of the blue I got a phone call from
Gary McManis of Keppler Associates, a speaker’s bureau in Washington,
D.C. Gary was calling to invite me to be a presenter at the Bakersfield
Business Conference (BBC) in October 2002, put on by Borton, Petrini
& Conron. I cheerfully accepted the invitation.
The BBC is a one-day event that invites the world’s top political, business,
and entertainment leaders to speak to an audience of about 9000 people
in a tent that is large enough to hold two 747s.
To build the tent this size takes more than a month, and costs almost
$500,000. Not only is the tent bigger than anything I’ve ever seen, it
has the American flag painted on the top. It’s awesome!
To see a picture of the tent click here.
Each presenter speaks for 20 minutes, from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. After
dinner there is entertainment, dance, and fireworks. It’s a day that
A Day To Remember
The limo picked me up at my hotel at precisely 9 a.m. and took me to
a “secure” site where I changed cars. I asked why this was necessary and
was told that this car had been checked for bombs and was “clean.”
Because of the people who have been invited to speak, security is tight.
I got into the back seat of the Lincoln town car, and found myself sitting
next to James Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence
Agency under the Clinton administration.
I introduced myself, and we chatted about the Oklahoma/Texas football
game. He says with a big smile and a hearty chuckle that he’s disappointed
he won’t be able to watch the game on TV because he’s speaking, and
he’s heard himself speak before. We both laugh. (He will later participate
in a foreign policy discussion with Oliver North and Jean Kirkpatrick.)
As we enter the grounds where the BBC is being held, we pass an
armored personnel carrier that has two police officers — with machine
guns hanging across their chests — standing in front of it. Then we
drive past the Bakersfield bomb squad.
A Good Laugh With Terry Bradshaw
Jim and I get out of the car, walk into the speaker’s lounge. Holding
court in the center of the room is Terry Bradshaw, the Hall-of-Fame
quarterback and FOX Sports TV star.
He’s preparing for his speech and is telling stories about football,
television, and everything else. We are all rolling on the floor in
laughter. A few moments later, George Will, the Washington Post
columnist and ABC political commentator walks in. It’s fascinating.
He introduces himself to Terry; and James Brown, Terry’s FOX Sports
colleague asks George a baseball question. For the next few minutes
George Will is explaining the intricacies of baseball’s double-switch
to Terry Bradshaw, and the rest of us.
No, I didn’t make this up. And to prove it, I had my picture taken
with George, Terry, and Jim. (James Brown was the photographer.)
Here’s the link to see a picture of me with George, Terry, and Jim.
I Gave a Great Presentation
My presentation was set for 10:10 a.m., so at about 9:45 I was taken by
golf cart to the business presenter’s tent where I was to speak.
When I walked in, it was empty.
What a sinking feeling. I had flown to Bakersfield Calif. to make a
presentation, and nobody showed up. How deflating.
John Petrini comforted me. He explained that everybody was watching
Terry Bradshaw — whose humor and storytelling was off the wall and
over the top — and that I would have an audience shortly.
John then shared with me a wonderful bit of information. He was still
using the time management and organizational ideas I had given to him
when I made my presentation to his law firm almost four years earlier.
Yes, these ideas work!
Once Terry’s speech ended, the tent began to fill up. Within minutes
there were hundreds of people sitting and awaiting my “words of wisdom”
about how to get organized, manage your time, and be more successful.
If you would like to read what the Bakersfield newspaper had to say
about my time management program, click here:
I also found myself on the evening news.
Lunch With Jean Kirkpatrick
After my presentation, I went back to the presenter’s lounge to watch
the main platform speakers on closed-circuit television and have lunch.
I saw a woman sitting at the conference table, so I sat down and introduced
myself. It was Jean Kirkpatrick, the former Ambassador to the United
Nations and National Security Advisor under Ronald Reagan.
For weeks I had been preparing myself for just such a moment, as
I wanted to ask a “brilliant” question, and learn something. I asked
her “How did you get into politics?”
Her eyes lit up, she put down her fork, straightened her back and proceeded
to tell the story about how an article she had written had been read by one
of Reagan’s assistant’s and then passed onto him when he was running
for president in 1980.
The story was fascinating, but unfortunately, she never finished it, for
Jim Woolsey sat down to join us and the two of them started talking.
Then Alan Simpson, the former Senator from Wyoming sat down next
to Jean. A few minutes later Oliver North walked in and took the last
chair at the table.
For 20 minutes I then had the pleasure of listening to the four of them
share their thoughts on the war on terrorism, Saddam, Iraq, Saudia Arabia,
and the Washington sniper.
Before Jean, Ollie and Jim went to do their panel discussion, I asked if
I could have my picture taken with them. Click here to see my photo.
Mark Russell The Political Satirist
After lunch, I decided to take a walk around the grounds to see — and
experience — the event for myself. It was a beautiful day, and many
people came up to me and told me how much they enjoyed my
time management program.
But after a while I decided to go back to the presenter’s lounge. In the
garden next door I saw Mark Russell the political satirist sitting at a table.
I went over, introduced myself, and asked him a question, “How did you
get started as a political satirist?” For the next 15 minutes Mark shared
some of his wonderful life with me.
I love to ask questions. You learn so much when you’re able to get
someone else to tell you about themselves.
Meeting Naomi Judd
After chatting with Mark, I walked into the lounge and started chatting
with Jim and Ollie again. (It was more like they were talking, and I was listening.)
Then Naomi Judd walked in — as beautiful as ever. She went up to the
two of them, giving both a kiss on the cheek. When I introduced myself
to her, she looked into my eyes, gave me a big smile, and said “I know
who you are,” and we shook hands.
Now, I’ll never know if she “really” knew who I was, but it sure made me
feel good. No wonder why she’s so successful.
During her speech Naomi talked about her life, and how she had been
abused. She said something that really made an impact: “You’re only
a victim once. The next time you’re an accomplice.” Talk about
taking responsibility for your life!
FDNY Battalion Chief Richard Picciotto
Throughout the afternoon I saw a man in a NYC firefighter’s uniform
walking around. After a while I finally got around to introducing myself to him.
His name was Richard (Pitch) Picciotto. You may not recognize the name,
but he was one of only 14 people who survived the collapse and destruction
of the World Trade Centers.
Pitch had been invited to share his story of how he survived that terrible day. It was an honor and a privilege to have met him.
Lee Greenwood: “God Bless The USA”
As I was watching Naomi’s program on closed-circuit television, I found
myself standing next to a very well-dressed and stylish man. It was the
Grammy Award winner and multi-platinum entertainer Lee Greenwood.
He had been invited to sing a few songs for us.
A few minutes later Lee was on stage, and I thought it would be a
wonderful experience to see him live instead of on the TV. So I asked
Jim Woolsey if he wanted to come along and we took a shortcut,
walking under the stage.
Ten seconds later we were standing 30 feet from Lee Greenwood watching
9000 people singing God Bless America. It was one of the most moving
experiences of my life.
A Special Guest
Rudy Giuliani was supposed to have spoken earlier in the day, but because
of a special tribute in NYC for firefighters who had died in the line of duty,
he wasn’t going to be able to make his presentation in person. instead, he
would be speaking to us by video conference.
As George Martin, the BBC’s master of ceremonies, was showing video clips
from the memorial service in NYC out walked His Honor, Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The crowd erupted in applause. Nine-thousand people were standing,
cheering, clapping and shouting at the top of their lungs. He was their
— and my — HERO.
Getting Mr. Giuliani to Bakersfield was a Herculean effort. Immediately
after the conclusion of the ceremonies in NYC Mr. Giuliani boarded a
chartered jet and flew to Bakersfield. He arrived just in time to thrill
his thousands of fans.
He talked about life after 9/11. He talked about courage. He talked
about winning the war on terrorism. And he talked about how great
it is to be an American.
The one question I wanted to ask Mr. Giuliani, had I had the chance
would have been, “With all the things that were happening on Sept. 11,
and the days immediately following, how were you able to set your priorities?”
He answered my question during his speech. He said that he asked God
for guidance because there just wasn’t enough time to think things
through, before he had to make a decision.
At the close of Mr. Giuliani’s speech Pitch and Lee Greenwood walked
on stage. Mr. Giuliani gave Pitch a huge hug, as thousands cheered,
and Lee started singing God Bless The USA. The crowd stood up,
cheered, and sang along.
Nine-thousand American flags were waving. As I looked into the
audience, all I could see was the Red, White and Blue fluttering above.
Pitch walked to the front of the stage, took a flag from one of the
hundreds of people standing in front of the stage, and started waving
it, His Honor did the same.
The song ended, but the moment didn’t. We sang another encore.
We weren’t about to let our heros go.
Click here to see the picture.
A Once In A Lifetime Photo Opportunity
Backstage, His Honor took a few moments to sign autographs and
pose for pictures. The outpouring of warmth, affection, and love
for him was off the charts.
Knowing that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I jumped in line
to have my photo taken with the America’s Favorite Mayor. I then
asked if I could have his autograph for my daughter, who is his
He took out a thick black pen, asked me her name, and wrote:
“To DeLaine, Rudy Giuliani.”
Click here to see me with Rudy Giuliani
Dinner With The Former Prime Minister of Canada
With the conclusion of the program, I found myself standing next
to a woman whom I hadn’t yet met. So I stuck out my hand and
introduced myself to The Right Honorable Kim Campbell, the
former Prime Minister of Canada.
We shared a ride back to the hotel, and I asked if she had plans for
dinner. She didn’t. As we walked into the restaurant, Jean Kirkpatrick
was paying her bill. Had we been 30 minutes earlier we could have
joined her. (What a fascinating conversation that would have been.)
For two hours over dinner we talked about politics, business, and life.
Ms. Campbell currently is a Visiting Professor of Practice at the
Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and is on a number
of United Nations committees. It was a fascinating evening.
Five Networking Techniques You ”’must”’ Master
To say this was one of the most exciting, fascinating, stimulating, and
enjoyable days of my life is a gross understatement. But to fully take
advantage of this wonderful opportunity I had to be prepared, for
if you don’t capitalize on your networking opportunities, you’ve
shortchanged yourself – and the people you’ve met.
Here are five of the techniques I used during this wonderful day:
*1. Always Smile
Have a huge smile on your face. Be happy you’re there. Go out of
your way to introduce yourself to people. Don’t talk about yourself,
ask questions about who they are and what they do.
*2. Ask For Business Cards
When you meet someone, ask for a business card. If the person
doesn’t have one, write down their name and address on the back
of yours. Your job is to collect the name of everybody you meet.
*3. Add People to Your Mailing Lists and Contact Manager
When you get back to your office go through your collection of
cards and add them to both your mailing list and your contact manager.
*4. Follow up with Phone Calls
Schedule follow-up calls with the people who you think are prospects
or people you would like to get to know better. Don’t expect them
to contact you, because they aren’t going to be as good at
networking — and keeping in touch — as you are.
*5. Act as if it Were Your Party and You Were the Host
Here’s my #1 best piece of advice: When you’re at a networking
event — whenever you’ve an opportunity to meet someone new,
you’re at a networking event – act as if it were your party and
you were the host. This forces you to smile, be outgoing,
and motivates you to meet other people.
”’Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey Mayer’s SucceedingInBusiness.com Newsletter. Copyright, 2003, Jeffrey J. Mayer, SucceedingInBusiness.com To subscribe to Jeff’s free newsletter, visit:”’ http://www.SucceedingInBusiness.com