It’s been 20 years since I started my career as a professional benefit auctioneer. I’ve learned a great deal from the nearly 1,000 auctions I’ve hosted. Come to think about it, it’s probably over 1,000. Either way, lots has changed. I’ve grown older. Events have become more frequent and the charity’s goals have increased right along with the need.
But, there is one thing that hasn’t changed – my routine. Oh sure, I’ve made a few minor adjustments. But overall, it’s been the same since day one.
I compare an auction day to a game day. Although I have been preparing for a particular auction for months ahead of time, my game day preparation is unique compared to other benefit auctioneers.
When I wake up my first thought is; “I have an auction today”. I know the charity. I know the cause. Even with that I still review my notes on the charity. I want to refresh my memory of the organization and the items that are going up for auction.
I also review my notes meticulously – looking for every detail – every word mentioned from previous meetings with the auction chairman and/or committee. I want to make sure I know the challenges of the past and contemplate strategic solutions – and then write those solutions down on paper so I don’t forget to share them with those involved once I get to the venue.
Reviewing the entire event in my mind is the next step. I think about pacing. I mentally picture where I will be in the venue at various times. And, if I’m made aware of the potential larger bidders – the most generous of the generous – I go online to try to learn more about them so I can address them directly in a knowledgeable way.
Music is a crucial element of the production of my live auctions. I confirm the music list matches the compact disc I created previously and the cue points are all exactly where I want them within a song.
Once that task is complete I go through my checklist to make sure I have all the items I need for the event and then load them individually into my car. That checklist includes everything from extra batteries for the microphone to cuff links for my tuxedo. Every item, no matter how small, is crucial for a successful presentation.
Now, it’s time for a little relaxation. I like to work out by swimming, running or lifting weights. If I have a work out partner I let them know I will not be talkative unless it has something to do with the auction. This is something my wife Mary is used to.
After exercising I usually have something to eat, depending on the start time of the event. If the fundraiser begins early evening I prefer to have a late lunch. I need to fuel up so my energy level remains high every minute I’m on stage or running around the room.
As for transportation, if I’m driving I turn off the radio and focus. During this time I talk to myself by practicing introducing the auction items and other emcee responsibilities. If I’m in the air, the private flight also provides time to reflect thanks to autopilot and my flight instructor of seven years, Rhonda.
With the day behind me I arrive at the event and……..! Well, what happens next will be discussed in the next blog. But, I will give you a little clue – my focus intensifies. Stay tuned.