The following has happened to me several times.
I show up some place I’m iinvited and some one asks, usually politely, “Why are You Here?” or some variation of that phrase, like “What brought you here?” “What’s your interest in this topic?”
It happened to me today. This is the dialogue I had in my mind and am now sharing with you.
Why are you here?
Uh, because I got an invitation. You invited me.
Uh, because I’m interested in the topic.
Uh, because I’m on the mailing list.
Uh, because I’m an alum and we get invited to these sorts of discussions/events/happenings.
And further more, do I look like I don’t belong here?
Do you think I misinterpreted the topic of today’s talk?
I know I’m not wearing corporate gear but there was no dress code and so I didn’t wear a suit.
(In the land of suits, folks don’t like non-suits showing up or at least they have to test to make sure you’re s’posed to be where you are. Most of the time I feel that I’m s’posed to be wherever I land.)
Note to planners, If you want your audience to fit a narrow scope – don’t invite b r o a d l y.
If the event is really only for financial planners or executive directors or folks who “belong” on the 26th floor, target your list to make sure that’s what you get.
Why was I there? Take your pick:
I’m interested in the topic – read a book and a few articles about the topic.
I’m here because my interests are wide.
I’m here because I’ve learned that learning in and of itself is its own reward and will also connect to something else in my life, often in ways I haven’t yet fathomed.
I have no agenda to advance, no product to push, no service to shop.
I’m not prowling for gigs (at least not in this crowd).
Oh, yeah, and I wanted to see the view from the 26th floor.