I was recently at a staff retreat for my 40 hour week job. I was excited that a local author was going to be there to talk about his book series for boys and brought money with me to purchase a copy of every book in the series. The author was a good speaker and when he started talking about gypsies and spiders, I should have known what was coming next, but it totally caught me off guard when he removed a snake from a small aquarium tank he had enclosed in a cloth bag.
My giant phobia is snakes. Once he took out the snake, I left the room and never returned for the rest of his presentation. On my way out the door his sarcastic remark was “This is a zoo, people!”
I knew we were at the zoo. I also know where the snakes are located at the zoo and I avoid their enclosure.
No where in this author’s program did it say that he would be bringing a live snake.
Because of the surprise of the snake, I left, and the author lost a fairly big sale because he has 12 books in the series and each book sells for $7.99 – that would have been a sale of $95.88, plus he had other books he wrote that I was interested in. I understand that no one purchased any books that day. I have to wonder why.
I would suggest to any author using a live animal in any presentation to give the audience some warning because you never know who in your audience has a phobia to something.
Had I been warned that he was bringing a live snake and that the snake would be kept at a safe distance, I would probably had made myself stay in the room. As it was – SURPRISE! SNAKE! my phobia would not allow me to stay in that room. And since I never returned to the room, he lost the sales I had planned to make.
Don’t lose sales, because of being thoughtless. Think of your audience and be mindful of how others and you can get your point across without having to be so visual.
It is okay if you think I am weird about being afraid of snakes. I would just ask, what you are afraid of? Spiders, roaches, bed bugs…..