This week, I am in (not so) sunny San Francisco where I have been asked, for the 2nd year in a row, to act as Corporate Emcee for the Partner World event at the IBM Think Conference. As was true last year, my responsibilities include some writing of the funny songs, some improvising of the funny songs and some bringing of the positive vibes through improvisation, interactive interstitials and bringing my experience to the table. In other words, being a good Corporate Host. They did surprise me, however, with one new task/job/opportunity: I was to host a live interview, in front of the 2039482039470 people in the audience, with Guest Speaker, Ashton Kutcher or, as I call him, Ashton FREAKIN’ Kutcher (a.k.a. my new b.f.f..).
I was excited. I was honored. I was…
Dude, Where’s My Confidence?!
Interviews are something I always look forward to but am also a wee bit scared by (in a good way). Although I have never had one go badly, it does feel like a very important moment to me and that is much heightened when it is with a famous dude, like Ashton Kutcher, and I do mean ‘dude’. He has inside him a true ‘dude’ in the sense of “That 70s Show” and “Dude, Where’s My Car” but he also has that other ‘DUDE’ inside him as well, this one in the sense of being an investor extraordinaire in companies like Spotify, Uber, Air BnB, and many more. He is the king of the start-up and he has been using his powers for good by creating organizations like “THORN”, which is using the internet to help stop child sexual slavery. So yeah…a little intimidating.
I had mentioned on line that I would be doing this interview and someone replied that it would likely be a very funny conversation. I was worried about diving into that expectation too hard because if I went too far to make it funny, it would not be funny at all and instead would undermine the important messages that Ashton was there to deliver. If I intentionally stayed away from humor, it would also not feel genuine as he and I are both, I dare to say, funny people. And so I became concerned that I would become stiff, that I would pale in comparison to the presence on stage in front of me and that I would essentially be….not good enough. But…I WAS WRONG!!!
Dude, THERE’s Your Confidence!!
After pondering how / what / who to be in this interview setting, I came back to the same saving grace conclusion that I always do: JUST BE PRESENT. If I went into this interview being present, accepting and helping to grow the moments as they came, I would be fine. And fine I was. The interview was excellent. It had it’s funny moments but in general, it was a passionate discussion about the need to use the internet in organic ways to combat the issues that we are faced with every day. Ashton made it clear that we need to protect ourselves and our children on levels great and small and can do that by recognizing the needs as they come. If I brought anything to the table it was that I was present enough to listen and ask genuine questions that furthered the conversation and allowed him the avenue to communicate his facts and his passion.
Also, he said he “would totally jam with” me sometime. So…he’s by new B.F.F.!
Also, have you ever actually seen “Dude, Where’s My Car?” If you have not, I have 2 things to say: 1) watch it, it’s freakin’ hilarious and so are Ashton K. and Seann William Scott and 2) No ‘And Then’!! (you will get it once you have seen the movie)
Ever worked with a famous dude or dudette? What was it like? How did you change naturally? How did you adapt? Please respond and let me know!