…so here’s a little more about the Moscow trip. I was a guest of the Russian Fitness Union at their annual Health & Fitness Conference. I was asked to present on the future of the European Health Club Industry and discuss how it will possibly change in the next 10 years. So, the presentation title was `Health Clubs in the Year 2015`.
Olga, the Russian organiser had given me the prime time slot of 6pm on the last day of the event! If there is an international hierarchy of health & fitness speakers, I was at the bottom! Still, Olga had told me to expect up to 60 delegates…just imagine how many would have turned up if I had been put on when it was still light outside!
I met with Sergey, my translator (officially known as an interpreter) whose job it was to decipher my English mumbling into riveting Russian. We had a very interesting lunch during which time we got through a range of topics including the break up of the USSR, the jailing of an oil oligarch an how many times he makes love to his wife ( I can honestly not remember how that came up in conversation). During lunch, he was struggling to understand my London `twang` – slightly worrying as we were about to go on stage a few hours later. With lunch over, we returned to the conference centre to be met by Olga who said that one of her speakers had been delayed and could I go on at 4pm – in 15 minutes. I leapt at the chance, knowing that a 4pm slot on Friday afternoon would elevate my status a few notches on the speaker league table.
Anyway, the presentation all went exceedingly well. Sergey understood most of my London English, which meant that the Russian delegates could understand Sergey. Many questions followed at the end and I was even asked to repeat my presentation at 6pm…although at 7.20, the lights suddenly went out in the hall – I think it was a hint from the Russian support staff that they wanted to go home.
I’ll definitely be returning next year, but will be insisting on a daylight slot!