Allan Pease and me! :) I even got to talk to him!

Meeting Allan Pease is like having a shot of laugh and energy into your system! It makes you feel perky, upbeat, and you can conquer the world!

I read Allan’s first book – “Body Language” – more than 10 years ago, when I was still in high-school. Now, in 2012, we think of body language as a legitimate concept, but in 1999 in Bulgaria it was REVOLUTIONARY. Up until then, we hadn’t really given much thought to body language, nor to the differences in the male/female way of thinking.

Also, back then I never thought I’d get to meet someone of Allan’s caliber. So how did it all happen?

First off, I decided to follow my own advice on getting rich, namely #8: fake it till you make it. I figured rich people would gladly join a seminar with a famous person, and I also figured that if I were rich, I would definitely go to a place like that.

Then one day I was watching youtube videos, searching for new topics for the blog, and BY ACCIDENT* came accross one seminar by Allan Pease. I spent the whole afternoon watching his videos and interviews.

*nothing in life happens “by accident”. Everything happens for a purpose.

Some time after that I ACCIDENTALY got a spam-mail about some training seminar. I usually don’t even open these, but this time I did.

The price was 150 euro.

At first, my old beliefs kicked in:
“150 euro?! That’s too much.”
“I can’t afford this.”
“Well I can, but I don’t want to.”
“But when will I have the chance to see Allan Pease again?”
“But it’s 150 euro.”
“But it will be cool.”
“But it’s 150 euro.”
“But it will be a great experience.”
“But it’s 150 euro.”
“But I have it now. Isn’t that what a money buffer is all about?”
“But it’s 150 euro.”
“Yeah… it’s a lot. [pause] Fuck it, I’m going!”

I decided to go as a sort of experiment – how achievable is it to adopt a new way of behaviour? To go and do something you’ve never done before, and never thought you would do?

Well, once you DECIDE to do it, just act quick and it’s pretty easy :) and very enjoyable. Not to mention I lucked out in meeting Todor Hristov from Nova Vizia:

Todor Hristov & Rya Hristova. No relation :)

(By the way, Todor has great pictures and videos from the seminar here, so go check it out. He also shares his thoughts about the seminar – a bit different from mine… and in Bulgarian.

I was very thrilled and flattered to find out that Todor knew about my little blog. Way to go!!)

The whole experience around the seminar was great, and I will tell you more details in my next post, but right now, let’s jump straight to Allan Pease and his training seminar.

Waiting for the seminar to open, people were just hanging out in the loby, making small talk. We spotted Allan Pease – crisp white hair and that cheerful green tie – doing pretty much the same as everyone else. It’s so easy to like the guy!

I was glad our seats were first row and we were so close to the stage, because let me tell you, Allan is like a ball of cheerful energy! He came on stage with a huge smile, full of good humour, and just swished the audience away. Before we knew it, we were laughing so hard that we had tears in our eyes!

Imagine you’re in a hall with 400 people, all laughing their brains out! Do you know how that feels? AMAZING! Now imagine that YOU are the one who MAKES THEM LAUGH. How does that feel? Must be freakin’ awesome!

Allan’s jokes were great. They were well-rehearsed, efortless, salted all over his presentation. This was very interesting to me – what made those jokes WORK? I imagined myself telling someone about the seminar and trying to repeat the jokes and I could not. Because the jokes were not just “jokes” jokes, they were SHORT STORIES told so well they called pictures in your head. That’s why I couldn’t repeat them – you can tell someone a joke but how do you tell them a picture?

Yet Allan could. I think he could have a great alternative career in stand-up comedy and compete with Chris Rock. De-fi-ni-tely.

How is that possible? Well, obviously Allan’s tested his humour in terms of what works and what doesn’t. And by “tested” I mean tested THOUSANDS of times with thousands different audiences. Not just do one thing on Monday and another thing on Tuesday.

Also, the way you deliver the humor is very important. Some of Allan’s jokes weren’t exaclty G-rated, but still the audience – full of business people, executives and so on – didn’t feel offended. On the contrary, we loved it!

And we applauded.

As the training progressed, we were shown funny pictures for illustration, volunteers were called on stage (mostly from the VIP-row), we interacted with the people sitting next to us. It was great fun and time flied; soon it was lunch time and the guys from the VIP-row got to eat lunch with Allan Pease. The rest of us got to eat lunch with… well, with not-Allan-Pease :)

When I was buying the ticket, I thought about buying one of the maybe 10 VIP seats so I could spend an hour with the trainer. I did not, and I regreted it during lunch. I should have bought that ticket, it would have been worth it. A whole hour with Allan Pease and only about ten other people. Wow. I was a fool for not buying the ticket.

Allan was very approachable during coffee-breaks and during lunch-break. There wasn’t a crowd around him, but there were a couple of people saying hi or making short conversations. Me? I didn’t. Part of me felt a little intimidated of that man who was world-famous, rich, successful, three times cancer survivor, father of 6 kids and a grandpa to… a lot of grandkids. (“Little people made by me” is what he said, lol :)

But also I didn’t want to bother him. I thought – gee, imagine speaking in front of 400 people, and in the few minutes during a break you constantly get someone pulling your sleeve asking for a photo or an autograph or just someone wanting to talk to you so they can feel important. Must be tiring.

As we laughed through the second part of the seminar, I thought more about Allan. What was his life like? How often did he get to see his family? How do you *be* a father of six, a husband, a grandfather, and travel the world in the meantime? Does he manage to get his sleep? What’s he like when he’s cranky? How did all of this, this career of his, start? How does it feel when you have unlocked most of life’s answers? Wait – did he have all the answers?

All these questions came popping in my head as I watched him perform on stage. I wanted to ask all these things and more. But if I had the chance to ask him one question at the end of the seminar, what would that question be?

Anyway, after seeing another bunch of funny pictures (and funny faces) during the afternoon session, another question popped in my head: what part of his behaviour was learned (jokes, gestures and such) and what part was inborn? I mean, you must be born a charming person with a sense of humor to be as good as him. Then work to fine-tune what’s already in your genes. Did he grow up with a lot of siblings? Must have been so.

And why did he agree to come to Bulgaria? What kind of money was he getting? Probably less than what he’d have in, say, Germany, but probably still enough to make it worth his while. Also maybe that’s why the training was on a Wednesday – an empty day for him, anyway, so why not make some money in Bulgaria on his way to the real money in Italy?

I loved observing the way Allan interacted with the audience. There was this one girl who was obviously a fan and wanted to get his attention; she had obviously read most of his books and watched a lot of videos with seminars he did in the past. So this one time Allan asked a question which the audience was not supposed to know, but this fan-girl gave a pretty complete answer. My bet was that Allan wouldn’t like it; I was right. The girl didn’t get the attention she craved, because Allan just gave a nod “That’s right” and moved on. He didn’t like it because the girl kind of tripped the pace of his presentation.

See, Allan gave a great performance. So great indeed that there was no way any of it was improvised – I bet everything in it was carefully tested, tried, and executed a lot of times. Allan knew what he was doing very well. It all seemed so effortless and improvised that I was sure it had taken a lot of work and involved no improvisation.

And that’s another reason why we applaud Allan Pease.

Allan had lots of charming personal stories for us:

“I did not *invent* body language. I was merely the first one to record and study it in such a way.

I remember, when I was a boy, I was applying for a job delivering newspapers. Before I went to the interview, my grandmother said “Come here, Allan, let me take a look at you.” She then told me to suck my stomach in, [does it on stage] push my shoulders back, [does it on stage] and keep my legs apart when I stand for stability [does it on stage]. She knew that if I did those things, I had a better chance of getting the job. How do you know this stuff, I asked her. She said, “I learned it from my grandma.”

Allan had a lot of neat tips, too. Like, if you are not sure how to read a gesture the other person is doing, do the gesture yourself. See how it makes you feel – which you will instinctively know – and voilla, you’ll know how the other person felt when he made the gesture. Yeah, just neat easy little tips like that.

He also said that a lot of gestures that make you look good and confident can be automated in your behaviour. Just repeat them long enough until they become automatic and then you will keep doing them without being aware. One such thing is having a smile on your face, or keeping your arms uncrossed so you come off as relaxed and approachable.

What I loved hearing from Allan Pease – especially loved – was when he said that gestures can influence your thoughts. Usually it’s the other way around, like if you are feeling down that will reflect in your shoulders lumping, or if you are feeling happy that will bring a smile on your face. What he said – and what I had known to be so – was that it also works the other way around: if you bring a smile to your face, even though you don’t feel like smiling, soon you WILL feel like smiling. I knew it!!

See, we people love these bite-sized, easy little tips we get. And that is why we applaud Allan Pease.

But even Allan Pease couldn’t make everyone happy. After one of the breaks, I heard a woman say, and not in a flattering way, “Okay, let’s go back in and laugh some more before we go.” And what’s more interesting, Allan somehow knew he should expect such attitude from his audience – at one point in his presentation he mumbled something like “Make me laugh, funny man.” Hmm.

Okay, so people are not happy if their training is all stiff and serious, but they are also not happy now? Todor from Nova Vizia said in his review that some guy grumbled “I heard nothing new so far.”

Well sure, the stuff Allan spoke about could be found in his books. Or in his videos. But come on, that’s not the point, the point is you get to see him live. To complain about it is like going to a Britney concert and saying “But hey, this stuff is all in her album.” Well OF COURSE it is. Also, if Allan had enough brand-new stuff to fill up a 6-hour training session, he’d have enough for a new book, right?

The point of this training was not about what’s “new”. After all, for people who don’t have his books MEMORIZED, this training must have blown them away. It’s not about “new”. It’s about “LIVE”. It’s about “PERSONAL”. And it’s about “FUN”. The training was all of this, and then some. And that is why we applaud Allan Pease.

(Not to mention I loved how he pronounced “mate” as “might”. Also how he said “never” as “nevah”. And especially how he pronounced “male” and “female” as “mile” and “femile” :)) Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oy, oy, oy! :))

I guess body language and the little things we do – or don’t do – really make an impression on others. For example, there was this guy sitting next to me who reached out to leave a sheet of paper on a desk about one meter away from him. He did it half-heartedly and half the sheet remained hanging over the edge of the desk. It held for a while, but eventually it fell down. The guy saw the sheet fall, he saw the sheet lying on the ground, and… did NOTHING. That pissed me off. I know you might say it’s just a little thing, but it’s not – it’s very indicative of the type of person this guy is.

As you can see, I was full of impressions and stuff to think about and also with questions. We were approaching closing hour, after which we’d have a chance to get our books signed and maybe – if you’re lucky – ask a question. But I had so many questions! I still had to choose just ONE question to ask him.

Allan closed the seminar and retired off stage; he was like only five steps away from me.

I had a problem, though: I wanted an autograph and I also had a question, but what if I didn’t have time for both? I decided to go for an autograph – since it wasn’t going to be for me and I didn’t want to let the other people down – and try to talk to him later.

So I jumped forward:
He nodded with a smile.
“Um, can I have an autograph please?” – I handed the book.
He took it. “Sure, what’s your name?”
“Um, could you make it out to the ********** public library?”
“OK,” he said, only it sounded oh-kaih :))

I was halfawy through spelling the name of my home town when I noticed that a huge – and not very nice – crowd had gathered around us. Jesus, people were pushing just like they do on the subway. I hated that.

Anyway, the event team suggested we move closer to the stage so Allan would have a desk to write on. He started towards the stage and I tried to follow, but oh the crowd! When Allan finished signing it he had to look for me, holding the book up, hahaha :))) God it was like he was holding a piece of meat and was surrounded by a bunch of hungry dogs :))

I took my book and asked my friend if we could stay a little longer and wait for the crowd to go. She agreed, so we did.

Finally everybody was gone, it was pretty much just me and my friend left. She took an autograph and also a picture.

I was a little nervous to bother Allan again – you know, after I had taken my autograph and all – but I would probably never had another such opportunity.

I approached, smiling: “Um, can I also have a picture?”
He smiled back and stood next to me: “You can have as many pictures as you like!”
Aww, that was so nice of him! And – silly me, being starstruck – instead of just saying “thank you” I said “One will do.” Hahaha, oh God, what was I thinking? :))

Allan Pease and me! :) I even got to talk to him!

We broke apart, and I said: “Thank you very much! Um, can I also have a piece of advice?”
“Thanks. Well, you’ve had a very interesting life…”
“Yes, I’ve done a lot of things in my life, hope I will do lots more in my life.”
“Oh, yes, may you have a long and healthy life…”
He laughed.
“So I was wondering, about the major life decisions in your life, did you go around seeking advice, you know, asking people about what you should do, or did you just sit down and turn to yourself and just think long and hard?”
“What do you do?”
“Well, obviously, seeking advice is a good idea, it’s okay to ask for advice, but for me, I asked myself.”
“You decided to sit down, and think long and hard?”
“Yes. It’s still good to get advice though, you know, get an outside opinion, but ONLY TALK TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE DONE IT, WHO HAVE DONE WHAT YOU WANT TO DO.”

Well said, mister Pease! Thank you for coming to Bulgaria, for giving us such a great time, and for being such a wonderful person!


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