You’re giving a public talk.
Maybe not a stadium full, but, still, a couple of hundred people.
The prospect of those two hundred eyes looking back at you, down on you (metaphorically if not literally - you hope). The need to impress, to inspire, to make laugh.
Then you find the person before you is all those things. They’re genuinely funny, they are couragous, their life is like a long adventure, they have fought in wars, they’ve brought up children, they’ve saved lives. eek. All of a sudden, your story feels little, unimportant.
Comparison is a dangerous game.
By comparison, your life, your story seems impossibly bland by comparison. What do I possibly have to talk about?
Well, people, i guess, but we can come back to that.
We live in a world full of noise. there are a thousand products for everything. or, if not a thousand, a million. Irrespective, more than enough. I write this sitting in a coffee shop. From the coffee shop I can see five other coffee shops. We live in a world full of noise. This is true for everything, everywhere.
We spend our days buzzing from one thing to the next. Largely blind to it. We’re like bumble bees fizzing from one plant to the next hoping to make pollen connection; fizz..its a hit!
This is what your customers are doing, your employees, your colleagues, everyone. Simply buzzing around looking for connections that make them happy. I know this doesn’t sound so good. Its certainly not what you see on many 360 degree reviews or feedback forms. “Yes, a good year, spend time successfully going around talking to other people about other people”.
And your customers. They’re people, like you. They want things they don’t really know they want for reasons they’re not really aware of. We like to think we’re logical but thats a sham. We’re emotional. And this is true even for people in IT.
So what sticks, what makes for a connection?
What something we make fizzes - a technical term - with the person its intended for. Fizzes is something that happens neurologically. A bit of your brain lights up. A bit of the brain that says yes, i like it, its safe, it makes me feel good, it makes me feel safe or hopeful or happy or it reminds me of being young of being with friends, it makes me feel bigger or a range of other things. That’s what we’re looking for. Those moments that remind us something we feel good about, that make us feel safe and belong.
This is true whether your business is credit cards or airlines or shoes or gardening.
The same emotional urges are shaping the behaviour and ideas of your customers all the time.
Which brings us back to the amazing speaker preceding you. She’s amazing because she’s different. She’s lived life to her max, she’s doing all the things you wrestle with each day, like working, being a parent, losing her car keys, no doubt, but she’s also maxing out. She’s not settling for much. She’s not constrained. Well, her constraints are her own.
We are drawn to people like this because they’re interesting, they inspire us, They are different.
In a world full of noise, difference is the only game in town. Whether its the company you run, the product you make or the job you do.