He worked alone, from home, like so many solo-preneurs. But he missed the companionship of workmates. So an invitation to a networking event seemed attractive.
He put on a suit and pocketed a quantity of business cards. For good measure he also took along half a dozen trifold leaflets about his business. Just in case. But his social skills were rusty and no one seemed willing to engage him in a lengthy conversation.
Before long he was stranded alone on the middle of the floor, while clusters of twos, threes and fours chatted freely around him, But not with him. Just then the iPhone in his pocket vibrated with a message to check his UK Lottery account.
It told him, “Congratulations! You are a winner!” He grinned.
“Good news?” asked someone. In a steady, loud voice he replied, “It seems I have just won the jackpot on the Lottery.
Suddenly he was no longer alone.
Recently at my Barbershop singing club, a chap came up to me to say he liked the video of me. “Which one?” I asked. “The one in which you talked about first impressions.”
I was puzzled because no such video exists. However, he had gone on my website and seen the video on The Dos and Don’ts of Business Presentations and somehow remembered it as “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.
The process in his mind probably went something like this: My video = something motivational. Embedded motivational message (from past experience) = First impressions Therefore my video = first impressions
I must admit it gave me pause. How often do my speeches or seminars get translated into something that I did not say, or get confused with an embedded preconception? Do folks hear what I say, or only what they want to hear? Perhaps the answer lies in better structure.
Phillip F. Khan-Panni MBA PSA Founder
PKP Communicators, Inaugural UK Business Speaker of the Year
35 Hillbrow Road, Bromley, Kent BR1 4JL, UK t: 0845 165 9240 m: 07768 696254
w: www.phillipkhan-panni.com View my profile on LinkedIn:
I needed to contact a senior manager in a financial institution in a foreign country,and rang her direct line. No answer. For two days. The company’s website carried only one number — for customer service. No main switchboard. The customer service line produced a garbled recorded message in three languages, and five or six options, none of which enabled me to speak to anyone who might connect me to the person I wanted. This happened three times.
I happened to have the business card of another senior person whom I had met at the same time as the person I was trying to contact. I rang his direct line (the only number on his card) twice. No answer. I resorted to email, sending the questions I needed to ask. Two days later, no reply.
The only reason I am persisting is that we have business to transact. But it does make me wonder how much business this company is losing by being so inaccessible. Sadly, they are not unique in this. For one reason or another, many companies remain similarly inaccessible, and I have to ask them, “Are you open for business?”