Monster Meeting Tips

There are some websites telling organizers how to put together a good rally or demonstration. But in my search I didn't come across tips for people who participate in rallies.

So here are some tips that I'm putting together now (will updated whenever an idea comes to me).

Participate: Be a participant, not an attendee. This is an importance difference. An attendee watches. A participant gets involved, is part of the event, makes it better than it would have been.

Recruit: The cheesiest pickup line is probably, "Hey, baby, what's your sign?" At tonight's rally, participants can use a similar line: "Hey, baby, what's your sign--and, wanna hold this protest sign?"

Invite others: some will join the rally when asked. Even if they don't join, they can't say that no one asked them to join. It will give them something to talk about, then one day when they are watching the news or reading, they'll remember that they were invited to join an event.

Represent: don't embarrass your cause. Bill Gates came to Korea with smiles and the best of intentions, then got denounced in crazy Korean Netizen land for the quality of his handshake. So remember that hypersensitive people and opponents will use any and everything against you.

Have fun: As Emma Goldman has been attributed with saying: "If I can't dance, then I don't want to join your revolution." We will be dealing with a sensitive issue, but that doesn't mean that it must be treated like a funeral. At least we can express joy about those North Koreans who have successfully escaped.

Cheer wildly: Whenever a speaker is introduced, them applaud or cheer. Some speakers are nervous and need encouragement. Even if the speaker makes a dumb joke, laugh. At tonight's rally, speakers have been ordered to keep it brief, so don't worry, they will run out of time quickly.

Chant slogans: Whenever the rally organizers or speakers ask you to do something, please do it. If they ask you to chant, do so. If they ask you to sing, sing louder than anyone else.

Chant my name: Yes, this one is important. Whenever I speak at a rally, and you happen to be a participant, don't forget to chant my name. Ladies, it is okay to scream my name--just pretend that I am Will Smith or some cute K-pop idol.

Be understanding: the rally organizers of this particular rally are all professional people with full-time jobs. Organizing rallies is not something that they do very often. So everything may not go according to schedule and some speakers may get moved by the spirits and talk too long.

Be clean: if someone hands you a flyer at the rally, either trash it in a garbage can (okay, there are only 4 in all of Seoul) or put it in your bag, purse or pocket. But don't trash it at the rally area--when your rally is over, it should appear that nothing had happened there.

Arrive as early as possible: it helps to have more than just the rally organizers present at the beginning. Many worry that no one will show up, so a few friendly faces can help them relax as they deal with last-minute problems. Offer to help. But even just standing around is valuable for a rally, the more, the merrier.

Join whenever you can: There is no such thing as being late to a rally. Some others may have left early. Plus, you can help cleanup.

Don't be shy: You are part of a rally. That's not the time to hide. Let people know that you are happy and proud to be a part of this moment.

Mood Music: On the way to the rally, listen to whatever music that gets you revved up. In my case, it is the dance mix of "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince, from the movie "Purple Rain." Or "Shut 'em down" by Public Enemy, turned up so I can't hear anything else.


* Tomorrow I will be speaking (briefly) at the "Road to Life" rally in support of North Koreans trying to escape from North Korea. But don't blink, because all of the speakers have been asked to limit their remarks.

Of course, I am sure that I will be the only one to speak briefly.

* I am scheduled to speak at 7:55 or 8:20. Things could have been even better--I was invited to perform with a music group, but because of my lack of availability lately, I couldn't get away to practice with them.

We had also considered doing a role play--I volunteered to pretend to be Dennis Rodman.

But again, too busy lately to get together to get it done..

* * *

Blaise Pascal once wrote: "If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter." A month ago, when I was at TED, they asked if anyone wanted to make a three minute speech. A three-minute speech? Hey, I need time to prepare to be that precise. On the other hand, if they had asked for someone to speak for 30 minutes? No problem! I've been preparing my whole professional life for that.

So my speech tomorrow will be brief. I am thinking about what to say because I must be precise, the host organizers will want the microphone back quickly and will try to grab it if I take a breath.

* * *

Several years ago I was interviewed on 1500 WTOP in Washington, DC. I believe that it is one of the biggest radio stations in the area. I was told that I would be on for two minutes. So I prepared five minutes of material, and talked until they interrupted me because they HAD to go to a commercial.

* * *

* On Friday from 5:30, I will be moderating a discussion with Blaine Harden, the author of the book Escape from Camp 14 about North Korean escapee Shin Dong-Hyuk. I attended a conference in Washington, D.C., on April 10, 2012. Shin and Harden were both speaking--but I missed the speech to attend at a protest in front of the Chinese embassy instead. I finally got to hear Shin this past July at a 10 Magazine event. I met him in February 2012 at a different conference. When I heard about his story, I suggested that he should write a book.

Shin Dong-Hyuk, Casey Lartigue, July 2012

Haha! The book by Harden was just about to come out, an international best-seller, translated into numerous languages.

So at last, I will get to hear Harden directly, as the moderator of the event.

* * *

I know that many people fear public speaking. I think it was Winston Churchill who was credited with saying something like: There are two things every young man is afraid of. One is asking a beautiful woman out on a date. Two, giving a speech in public.

But I love it. It is always a good chance to tell people what I think about things. Like blogging to a live audience...

* * *

Here is the petition asking the Chinese government to end the repatriation of North Korean escapees.