TJ And the Cat Lady

Sometimes people think the life of media trainer is all glamor. It is about hanging out training celebrities, famous politicians, flying first-class ting, in exotic places like Paris and Bangkok. It is true. I have done all those things but it is not all glamorous. I remember once early in my career. This is more than a couple of decades ago. I was conducting a media training for a political candidate in central south Florida. This was a candidate for the state legislature. As I often did that and occasionally do now. The training was taking place at the trainee’s home because all I really need is a television. I bring video camera lights, microphone. I walk into the house with my partner at the time stand and instantly something was wrong. I do not have a particularly sensitive sense of smell. But all of a sudden it was like oh, like being punched in the nose. Because the stench of cat, cat feces cannot urine and whatever cat stuff else. It was so overwhelming. It almost knocked me down.

I walk into that and this where I am supposed to spend the next eight hours. I Walk in sit down my partner stand quickly said, “Oh I just remembered another meeting I have to go to I will see you at 5:00” he got out of there quickly. Smart move he is smarter than I am. The candidate comes up to me and says, “Oh great looking forward to working with. You would you like a snack” sure so she brought me a dough-nut on a tray. The tray is covered with cat hair. The dough-nut is covered with cat hair. I looked at the floor that shares everything in the house. House about a quarter inch to a half inch of cat hair. I suddenly said, “You know what I think I am on a diet today I am going pass on the dough-nut but thanks”

We do the training. I am trying not to get physically ill. We do the training. Pretty much as we always do get her on camera numerous times. Refine her message all of that. It is lunchtime now those of you who have ever been in a training with me or known me you know. I have never skipped lunch once in my life. I like lunch. I like all three meals. I don’t skip meals. Maybe I should but I do not. So she offered me lunch a sandwich. I look at the sandwich. It is on a plate the plate is covered with cat hair. I do not like to do this. I do not think I do this very often. Try not to do this but I lied. I said, “oh you know what I am just not hungry thanks anyway” I could not imagine stomaching something covered with cat hair.

She did also offer me some potato chips. They were on the table and I saw that was all covered up in a nice cellophane bag. I thought maybe that is safe. I opened the bag looked at a chick no cat hair. I ate it tasted pretty good. I ate another one. I am just starving to death at this point. I eat another one. I eat the whole bag at least I am not in pain anymore. The chips were not that bad. When I finished the bag I turned it over and I looked at the expiration date June 12th 1989. At this point it’s about 1994. These chips were so beyond expiration date. It was not even funny again. My stomach is like ah.

We continued the training all day long and I do think I helped the client. I did help the candidate. She got better and better and better. It was better prepared for her state legislative race. It was not the most enjoyable day. Certainly the most glamorous day I have ever had as a media trainer. But you know I got through it. I did not let the fact that my nose was under assault stopped me. I did not let the fact that I was practically starving to death stopped me. I did my best and I focused on the client and I try not to whine or be a baby about it.

Okay so why do I tell that story. I do not use this story very often. But certainly in a question-and-answer session, when someone’s asking me about life as a media trainer or if I am speaking to a toastmasters group or a lot of people sort of aspire to be a presentation media coach. They do find it incredibly interesting and they think of it as all glamor. So it is useful to let them see there is another side to it. But I also want them to know that if you’re going to be good at it. As I like to think I am. You have to ignore things that would just bother most people to the point where they could not function and just do the job. That is what I try to do regardless of the obstacles. Regardless of anyone else attitude. Regardless of horrible stench in the room. I just do my job and that is the message

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