I had never been to a children's hospital before, and upon entering I was struck by the cheerfulness and warmth of the main lobby. There were colorful, interactive exhibits everywhere and even a small McDonald's restaurant down the stairs. Of course, the idea was to take the fear out of a hospital visit, and judging by the laughter and activity all around, the strategy was working.
Naturally, Mr. Shmooze seemed to know everyone in the hospital. The receptionist jumped up to give him a big hug. While others were busy signing in, Mr. Shmooze and I walked right into the inner core of the administrative area, winding up in a large meeting room where thirty or so people were awaiting our arrival. Again, many of them knew Mr. Shmooze, and there were hugs all around.
"Ladies and gentlemen, let's bring this meeting to order," announced Dr. Ahern, the CEO of the hospital. "Many of you know Mr. Shmooze, but for those of you who have not met him, you're in for a real treat."
Dr. Ahern turned to Mr. Shmooze. "As you know, these are the folks responsible for much of our fundraising throughout the year. They are eager to learn your insight into selling, business development, and relationship building. I have told everyone this will be approximately a two-hour session and that you have generously volunteered your time to conduct this seminar. Ladies and gentlemen, our good friend, the legendary Mr. Shmooze!"
Mr. Shmooze strode to the front of the room, a huge ...