Buzz Aldrin, the guest of honour at the Institute of Directors' annual convention, looked dapper in his moon-and-stars tie. He was well introduced.
Three thousand sets of hairs rose on three thousand necks as we witnessed the thunderous, familiar yet inspiring footage of a Cape Canaveral blast-off. We were in the presence of history; Aldrin didn't disappoint.
Within 20 seconds he received a warm round of applause as he skilfully blended moon-walking, the centenaries of the IoD and heavier-than-air flight with a recollection of the Battle of Britain. True, he did wax lyrical: 'The magnificent desolation of the moon bathed in the soft glow of Earth hanging like a space flower.' But as he has actually been there, he can get away with it.
Aldrin's main theme was guaranteed to interest any business audience: the need to take risks. And he didn't flinch from confronting difficult areas. He talked about February's Columbia tragedy: 'But space travel is always dangerous.' And in life, he averred: 'No meaningful success comes without the opportunity to fail. The only obstacles are complacency and lack of clear commitment.' It was a convincing presentation. Aldrin walks the talk and is inspiring, despite a tendency to be orotund at times.
Key moment: The revelation that on the first manned descent to the moon, the astronauts had just a few seconds of fuel left as they tried to pick a safe landing spot in a field full of boulders.
Key lesson: Relate to your audience's experience as early as you can. That way you'll get them onside soonest.