Although only eight of the nine registered participants for my second annual “How to Become an Outdoor Communicator Seminar” attended the event at Georgia’s Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center near Mansfield, those who participated rated the event as a 49 out of 50 possible points for achieving its principal objective of exposing participants to the range of outdoor communication techniques, their usefulnesses and money-making potentials. The registrant who could not attend was down with the flu, and I was thankful that he did not come and infect the rest of us. He has been contacted, and we may do a hunting video together and fill him in on what he missed.
I teach from personal experience and by example. I am a person who is easily bored with any one method of doing anything. I want to try new things and probe the limits of what others consider customary. Consequently, I started outdoor writing as an area correspondent for local and regional newspapers. This progressed to magazine writing, book writing, being a radio host, doing YouTube videos, TV and working in various aspects of Social Media. In addition, I did, and do, seminars and comedy gigs related to the outdoor industry. Although all of these ventures have not been successful, my thousands of news and magazine articles, year-and-a-half-of radio, 18-25 books (depending on how you count conventional soft-cover and E-books), over 400 YouTube videos (some used on TV) and appearances have given me an unusually expansive background in communicating outdoor content.
Although there had been a period of cloudy, cold, rainy weather in Georgia this Spring, Seminar Day opened with a hard frost, clear and almost no wind. While not scheduled in the 50-page handout that was E-mailed to participants, I decided that we would relocate from the Discovery Center at 11:00 AM, have our wild-game cooking demonstration at the nearby campground and have the class video the event. The week before I had a new version of my sheet-iron grill made at a local welding shop, and I would use it with a propane burner (instead of wood) to make a stir fry from wild hog meat and deer backstraps. You can view this video at: http://youtu.be/85lD1idwVdM . This part of the program received 47 out of 50 possible points, with one remarking that it was a little long. Several, after they had sampled both the stir fry and a pre-made stew, commented that I should open a restaurant. Wild hogs and deer are good, provided that the animals are on good feed and properly worked up.
As might be expected from the wide range of subjects that would be covered, those who registered came with different expectations. One was interested in wild-life photography, another already had an outdoor radio show, a Florida man makes turkey calls and wanted to expand his opportunities, another wanted to do something outdoor related at home to bring in income and a book project based on his and his son’s experiences in Vietnam and China brought another from the greater Atlanta area. The age range for the group ranged from the late 20s to 70s. My task was to stand in front of them and present materials that they were not necessarily in their area/s of interest for eight hours and keep my audience lively during the process.
A long gig for a comedian is a one-hour show. I was suppose to do this for eight hours while maintaining sufficient enthusiasm to keep everyone interested and awake, even after consuming a good lunch. That is a difficult assignment. Nonetheless, I managed. Using aspects of performance art, story telling, pre-recorded YouTubes, replicating segments of my radio shows, costume changes, having an outdoor segment over lunch that invited personal participation and being forthcoming during Q-A periods, I got 47 out of 50 possible points in being able to hold my audience’s attention.
Although the outline was not followed to the minute, the Seminar stayed on schedule. Because of the long drive times for some attendees to return home and the need to close the building by 5:00 PM, the formal parts of the Seminar ended at 4:00 PM with a general networking and QA period as I packed up. That night and the next morning I edited the video. Later on Sunday I helped a friend in Atlanta assemble a piece of industrial equipment, returned home, cleaned everything up, attended to dogs, slept and had the video live by 10:00 AM on Monday morning with associated posts on Facebook and Twitter. A link to the video with additional comments were sent to the registrants by 11:00 AM.
The cost of this Seminar was $50, including the meal and 50-page workbook. This price will increase to $100 for the 2016 Seminar which will be held in the same location, likely in early March. The Seminar is limited to 25, and it will cover the same content. If only one person registers, the event will still be held and we will abbreviate other portions of the seminar and concentrate on his/her area/s of interest. My time and ability to continue these seminars may be limited. Today I received an invitation to go, expenses paid, to present to an international business conference in China that will be attended by heads of Fortune 500 companies, officials from world governments, heads of Chinese companies and thought leaders in business and industry. This invitation was provoked by my new book Ideas for New Businesses that is now available as an E-book and next month as a soft-cover and my forthcoming book Profit. I have two videos up on Profit. The most recent is “Profit Video No. 2” which you can see on YouTube at: http://youtu.be/DUQJU56vxjU.
This invitation is a direct result of my outrageous and non-apologetic self-promotion. If you do not toot your own horn, you can be guaranteed that no one else is likely to blow it for you. If you have abilities, skills or products, tell the world about them. If you can’t, find someone who will.