Mikki Williams Speaking in Israel

Thank goodness, I choreographed "Fiddler on the Roof". I guess that's what you call a transferable skill. I received the invitation shortly after I spoke for the Million Dollar Round Table and I was ecstatic ---- and worried. What about all that tsuris (that's Yiddish for trouble)? Is it safe? Will I eat too much? How's the shopping? Speakers questions obviously not covered at my last NSA Convention. Traveling internationally provides you with many minor AHA's. Do I need shots, a visa, currency calculators? Since I travel so much internationally, I have bought enough gadgets from The Sharper Image catalog to own the company. You must have a fax, wire transfer access to your business account, and a lot of patience.. What time is it there? Is it less expensive to call now or later? Will the operator speak English? And lots of minor frustrations that must be dealt with graciously. Never was the term relationship selling so important.

My host met us at the airport with flowers and a gun in his belt - GULP!. Leave three hours early to get to the airport when leaving Israel as airport security will take you that long. The media makes more out of the supposed danger than there is. My host commented we probably face more danger in New York City daily. The speaking process was also challenging. This time around I did not have the luxury of simultaneous interpretation. It was consecutive - I speak, she speaks, I speak, she speaks. If you have a really good interpreter, you can do a paragraph or two and they will retain and interpret. In Israel my interpreter had to go sentence by sentence. It was quite challenging especially with the humor and anecdotes. You have to adjust your timing to allow for delayed reactions. My pre-convention workshop was on networking for sales people. If I had not taken the time to explain and find out that they have no word for networking and didn't understand the concept, my interpreter would have thought I was talking about network marketing

The Israelis are extraordinary hosts, however, don't be late as my companion was one evening. It was a definite no-no. After the business events, we had five days of sightseeing from dinners in their homes to each night a different theme feast in our honor: a Moroccan feast and Roman orgy, to name a few. Food, food, food. Forget shopping, nothing fits. We stayed in Jerusalem and saw the old city. We prayed at the wailing wall, and cried at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum. Went to Bethlehem and Nazareth. We climbed Masada, King Herod's home, floated in the Dead Sea at the resort of Elat and rode a camel.

Israel is a country with a past and a future. People have pride and assertiveness. A land of remarkable challenges in it's geography and it's people. After the convention I was mobbed with people bearing gifts, hugging, and warmth like I've never experienced. Israel was the ultimate experience. What I taught them was nothing compared to what I learned from them. One of the most memorable events of my speaking career happened in Israel. Six Jeeps, one tour guide, several speakers and guests and many Israelis on a hot day ventured out into the Negev Desert. About an hour into our journey I looked out the back of the Jeep and experienced a similar feeling that I had one night while speaking on a cruise ship. Standing on deck in the blackness of night surrounded by the vast ocean made me feel so small, so vulnerable, so spiritually aware of my humanness. Again, as I peered out of the Jeep and no matter where I looked I only saw desert. No beginning, no ending.

Until ---- we came upon a great rock formation and there below it like a mirage in the desert, our hosts had catered a formal lunch for us -- table cloths, china, silver, caterer and as we sat and ate and drank in the middle of the Negev I gave thanks for my bounty and for what Naomi Rhode, President of NSA calls this year's theme, "The Privilege of the Platform," but most of all, for what Tevye says in Fiddler on the Roof, "To Life, To Life, L'Chaim!"

Mikki Williams,CSP is an inspirational humorist and business motivator. Her company, Mikki Williams Unltd. specializes in speaking, training and consulting in business dynamics, professional development and personal growth.

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