Dining in, in Mayfair

DB-Mayfair012_sm_crppd‘Yes, please, I said enthusiastically to the chairman when she asked if I would give a talk on my recent book: Seller Beware: How Not To Sell Your Business. I was to be the guest speaker for the summer ‘Dining In’ evening at the University Women’s Club in Mayfair. And the good news was, she said I could bring Seller Beware to sell.

As mentioned in one of my previous posts I had my launch of Seller Beware at the club in April, having been a member for twenty years. But that occasion was very definitely a party. This time it would be more formal. Now the date had come round, my heart beat a little faster. Many members in the audience would have high-flying careers, and they would have paid good money to hear the talk. I needed to up my game.

We would begin with canapés and wine in the drawing room, and then repair to the elegant dining room where we would eat, drink and not get out-of-hand merry (a big no-no at the club), before I came on. At least by then they would be a little relaxed after a few glasses of wine.

One of the highlights of the evening for me was having my nephew, Adam, present with his wife, Liz; they had come all the way from Tennessee. My aunt and cousin who lived round the corner in Pimlico, and who hadn’t seen Adam for thirty years were also there to watch me! None of them had ever heard me give a talk, so it had better be good, I thought, as I stood up. Not a drop of wine had touched my lips, in case it went to my head.

‘Just out of curiosity,’ I began, ‘who owns their own business?’

Out of around thirty women, at least ten raised their hands.

‘Presumably, one of these days, you’ll want to sell. But don’t even think of selling until you’ve read my book,’ I told them, waving it in the air. ‘Take heed of the sub-title: One Woman’s Road To Ruin. Reading this could save you from heading along the same path.’

There was a ripple of laughter.

Immediately, I forgot I was addressing a roomful of academics. It was as though I was talking to my friends and family about what had inspired me to write the book, the search for a publisher and how it came to be published by Biteback Publishing.(posts on 3rd & 10th November 2012 – My Journey to Publication – and Beyond, Part 1 & 2), Relating my unexpected meeting with Ian Hislop on the evening train from Charing Cross caused my audience to chuckle (post on 8th December 2012 – My Journey to Publication, Part 3), Afterwards, I answered all sorts of searching questions: how I coped; how I felt; was it cathartic to write the book; what did I hope to achieve by writing it?

The forty-five minutes flew by, and I’m delighted to say the pile of my books which the restaurant staff had displayed near the door (making it difficult for anyone to leave without one under their arm!) flew off the table.

Now, who would like to book me in for the next talk?