Does your Icebreaker beat the cheesy holiday snap in the slide show?
Wearing my ‘professional services’ marketing hat, I recently attended a meeting at an accountancy practice with a number of their partners. To provide some context, I’d already met with the Partners responsible for marketing a couple of times and this was now my presentation to the entire partnership, sharing with them, my views and ideas on the development of amarketing strategy for their practice.
The presentation seemed to go very well, the audience appeared engaged and there were a number of really practical questions – and so I thought things had gone well – but often these ‘pitches’ tend not to generate too much discussion or feedback there and then, so you’re never quite sure.
At the close of the presentation – one of the Partners I’d now met a few times rose from his seat and, thanked me for the presentation – and said, most unusually – “that was great work, 10 stars to you” – to which there was laughter and giggling by pretty much everyone in the room. (Even more unusual).
Of course, whilst a little bewildered – I composed myself, joined in the laughter (unknowingly) and advised that I was pleased that they had enjoyed the presentation so much.
However, then it dawned on me – ‘Great Work – 10 Stars’ – weren’t these the very words printed on the oversized sticker that my 4 year old had received from nursery the day before and just that morning as I was frantically unplugging laptops and packing bags to make my train, was again, sharing with me as to how well she had done.
And yes, as I then looked about myself – I realised that stuck to my left shoulder – was the very said sticker. Of course, the ‘do you want to wear my sticker mummy?’ question now made sense.
Aha – now I got it.
Having attended a number of presentations, instead of the usual post presentation formal mutterings and perhaps queries on some of the areas I’d discussed – the Partners were far more open and warm towards me. My daughter’s sticker dominated the initial conversations – and it felt really quite good to be very transparent about my lifestyle – that as well as being dedicated to running my own business, I successfully juggle being a dedicated mother of two.
Of course, the ‘holiday snap’ icebreaker – is now terribly passé – (as well as terrible)! But there’s definitely something to be said for sharing a bit of who you are with your audience. I find that all too often we’re very guarded about who we are personally – as it’s not very ‘professional’ – however, we mustn’t forget that it’s people we build relationships with. And after all – people do business with people they like.
I suppose social media platforms such as blogs, Twitter, Linked In and Facebook – can be great for transparency provided we put out there who we are – but I guess we only tell people what we want them to know.
The ‘sticker’ incident was a pure accident – however, from now on – when presenting, I will certainly be thinking of ways that I can share a little bit more of who the person is behind the voice. It certainly warmed things up – and broke down barriers.
So what’s your ‘Icebreaker’ going to be?
Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative - a graphic design and marketing services agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire. The agency covers all aspects of graphic design and marketing - covering social media marketing and website planning and website design.