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If Your Name’s Not on The List, Then You Can’t Come In!

1st Mar 2017

Hands up if you have ever been on the guest list to see one of your favourite bands perform live?

Luckily, this was the situation I found myself in recently so you can imagine my excitement.

With the band’s back-catalogue pumping from the car stereo on the way to the gig I too was feeling pumped for the event – it was going to be epic!

There were long queues but that was a good thing because it meant there were still lots of fans of this band more than a decade after they split up and subsequently reformed. There was a slightly smaller queue at the box office where I had to pick up my tickets.

Although smaller, this queue seemed to be moving slower and I soon found out the reason why.

The person behind the desk appeared to be quite flustered and the people in the queue weren’t making it any easier. One person had just been turned away without a ticket – I wasn’t sure why.

I was 100% confident my name was on the list and there was a pair of tickets for me.

I had no need to worry, right?

When it came to my turn, I told the person that my name was on the guest list and stated my name.

‘Oh, the guest list…okay…’ they said whilst still appearing flustered.

They grabbed their computer mouse, put their glasses on and stared at the screen while scrolling with the mouse wheel.

‘No, it’s not on my list’ they said.

I told them I had been assured it was on the list and asked could they please check again.

By this time the queue behind me had started to build up again.

I could see from the reflection in their glasses that the application they were using was Microsoft Excel.

I saw them concentrate on looking at the keyboard and then when they found the keys they wanted, pressed them. I was then told again that my name wasn’t there as they’ve went all the way through their list from top to bottom and – nothing, so basically it literally was a case of…

If Your Name’s Not on The List, Then You Can’t Come In!

Quickly realising what they were doing wrong and also armed with a few suggestions nd other solutions to solve this problem. I could have shared this with them

However as  they were under pressure and had at least twenty pairs of eyeballs watching their every move from the queue behind me sharing my knowledge in that moment  could have resulted in humiliation and/or confrontation.

There was still plenty of time before the concert was due to start and I was sure the queue would slow down soon enough.

‘Ah ok, no worries – I’ll go and make a couple of phone calls’ I said and then I walked away.

Twenty minutes passed before I went back to the person at the desk who now appeared to be calmer and had begun organising things on their desk.

I just asked one question…

‘You don’t like using Excel, do you?’

This seemed to open some kind of floodgate…

‘No, I hate it!’

‘I have nightmares about it. No one shows us how to use it properly and when we do start to get to grips with it, it changes and you feel like you are starting all over again’

I asked if they remembered me from earlier and they did, telling me I was  ‘one of the more polite ones’.

I got them to bring the list up again and if it would have been ok for her to turn their monitor around.

They did and I told them a couple of reasons as to why they couldn’t find my name earlier and also a few tips on how to find names real quick in the future. This was by no means anything more than the fundamentals of Excel but they were ecstatic.

‘If only they’d given me that information when I first started using this’

I can only assume that the ‘they’  being referred to was this person’s employers.

The IT trainer in me wanted to jump over to the other side of the desk, side beside this person and start talking Subtotals, Pivot Tables and Advanced Filters but the music lover in me could hear my band begin to play inside the arena.

I was thanked for my help and told to enjoy the concert.


In this situation the worst that could have happened was that I didn’t get my ticket to the concert…


What if this was a list in your workplace? What if it was a list of quotations, a list of sales orders or a list of customer details.

What’s the worst that could happen in your company?

Do you and your colleagues know how to do more than just scroll through your lists?

Do your employees know how analyse lists to get the most valuable information out of them quickly and easily?

If the answer to the above questions is yes then great – that’s one less thing to add to your to do list.

If the answers are no then think about putting it at the top of your to do list.

If you feel you are ready – click the image below…

Excel Masterclass


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