Power of Manipulation

Last weekend I was in Cleveland, Ohio for the Special Libraries Association 2019 Conference.  On Sunday, June 16, our opening keynote speaker was Leon Legothetis.  He previously was a London stockbroker, but gave that up. From his website:

 He used to be a broker in the city of London where he felt uninspired and chronically depressed. He gave it all up for a life on the road. This radical life change was inspired by the inspirational movie The Motorcycle Diaries.

Today, Leon is a motivational speaker. His initial presentation was upbeat and positive as he showed us slides and a video from his upcoming Netflix series,  The Kindness Dairies.

In the series he drives a yellow motorbike around the world.  He carries no money and has to get food, lodging, and gas for his bike, Love One, from strangers.  One memorable samaritan who gave him shelter was a homeless man.  The homeless man kept a spare clean bedroll, clean underwear, and clothes in a garbage bag stashed in some bushes.  In return for sharing  what little he had, Leon rewarded the man with an apartment and enrollment in a cooking program because school was where the homeless man felt the most loved.

How does a man without funds for food, gas, or lodging, and who is supposedly travelling around the world by himself, just happen to have a videographer on hand to capture his journey and enough resources to generously thank the people who give him lodging, food, and gas money?

One of the last parts of his talk was to ask anyone in the audience who had ever felt sad to come up on the stage and share their experience.  One lady raised her hand.  She just happened to be able to attend the conference because of a stipend from the local Cleveland SLA Chapter.  That stipend made her feel welcomed.

Leon asked us all to stand and face them, while he put his arm around the lady’s shoulders and asked if she felt loved because all of us stood clapping, per his instructions.  Both of them agreed it felt wonderful to bask in the support of the applauding audience.

Leon then asked us to turn our backs on them and face the rear of the hall.  He then asked the lady if she felt spurned and they both agreed it felt awful when we turned our backs on the two of them (again at Leon’s comand.)

When we were  told to turn around, the sun came back out and the two of them on the stage remarkably felt much better.

I felt manipulated.  Can I have a portion of my conference fee back?