Months ago, I had the opportunity to see an ingenious young entertainer do his act. He did great impersonations, was a master of improvisation, and was quick on his feet. Several weeks later, I saw him off stage and mingling with the crowd. I walked up to him and did a quick introduction.
My intention was to offer him an opportunity to use his talents on a show that I produce. Based on his prior performance, he seemed to be a natural… worth the SAG New Media fee. To my surprise, before I could get a half-dozen words out, he turned and walked away… avoiding me the rest of the evening. Amazing how tough it is to find talent in a town that has nothing but.
I thought about another venue I attended in the past, also full of show business types. I did make a number of very fruitful contacts there. However, the very first group that I approached turned and walked off before I could get the first word out of my mouth.
Strange. And I did use mouthwash and deodorant that day. Hmm…
Well, that simply goes to show that we all can make snap judgments when we encounter people.
Granted, as someone who has participated in the acquisition of over a billion dollars for past employers, largely by approaching prospective customers in social venues, I couldn’t help but wonder if I might be losing my touch?
As always, I did mental “instant replays” in an attempt to ascertain what had provoked the entertainer’s response. I realized that he might have interpreted me as looking for a hand-out or a favor, and not offering him an opportunity to fatten his checkbook. Unfortunate… but it did lead me to consider how to change future approaches.
One thing I noted about that first encounter was that I needed to forego the “small talk” and go straight for the proverbial jugular.
Gone are the days where people like Charles Dickens spoke a mouthful of syllables to say the equivalent of today’s “hey” or “‘zup!”
Texting and other modern forms of communication have decimated the Queen’s English (in spelling, grammar, and usage). Communication MUST be succinct and to the point.
Communications must also be positive. The good book says:
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].
Proverbs 18:21 [AMP]
Years ago, a server in an Army cafeteria found it difficult to unload the apricots on the serving tray.
He asked, “You wouldn’t want any apricots, would you?”
An estimated 90% of those in the serving line declined.
He subsequently changed his interrogatory to, “Would you like a bowl of apricots?”
He found that only 50% declined.
The smart soldier came up with a better line for the following day.
He asked, “Would you like one or two bowls of apricots?”
To his amazement, 50% requested one bowl, 40% requested two bowls, and only 10% declined.
When you are in your next networking event, business meeting, job interview, audition, or any other such interaction… be mindful of how you word things.
It will make a huge difference.