Let ’em see you sweat
Friday night, we went to see one of our favorite comedians, Brian Regan at another one of his sold-out shows. One of the funniest and most-applauded moments of the show was when Brian messed up a joke. He came clean about it and then went off into an unscripted direction for the next five minutes or so. The fans LOVED it! What had us all so appreciative and entertained is what makes this so interesting…
Analyzing the connection we all felt in that situation, and our reaction to his blunder, had me wondering what similarly makes those TV & movie bloopers, out-takes and gag reels so great. Why are those mistakes often funnier (better) than the carefully scripted and masterfully executed scenes?
The magic is in the authenticity
Watching an actor or comedian mess up their lines isn’t even the best part … it’s what comes next. Often these professionals will then let loose, go off in their own improvisational direction, and/or just completely surrender to their own imperfections and sometimes even laugh uncontrollably. For the viewer this is magical and here’s why. We get to see a very human side of these … human beings. It’s quite endearing to witness their mistakes and watch how they react in these situations. All of a sudden, they become so real, just like you and me. We get to see an instant transformation that shows us a side that we rarely get an opportunity to see.
So how does this apply to business?
Being authentic, natural and even imperfect with your clients has its payoffs. For example, think about your restaurant dining experiences. You’ve probably had experiences in which your server was completely professional and competent. You may have had other encounters in which your server remained professional and competent, but also exhibited a bit of personality; humanness. I’ve noticed that we’re often more forgiving of the server with personality than the one with only professionalism. In other words, we’re more likely to soak up an honest mistake from a server with personality. Personable waiters typically receive larger tips and more repeat customers than the ones who simply exhibit professionalism and competency.
Notice how much easier it is to tolerate the shortcomings of someone who is authentic — and even vulnerable — than it is to do the same with a person who so desperately doesn’t want you to see them sweat.
Your clients know, of course, that you are human and they need to experience your humanness
Sometimes this can be exemplified by your imperfections. I was once attending a seminar and a new leader came into the room to speak with us for a bit. He lifted up his necktie and said, “Before I begin, I just need to share something with you. During lunch today, I spilled food on my tie and now I have this big ugly stain.” We all began to chuckle, because something similar has happened to every one of us — we could relate. “If I didn’t say anything about it, I know this stain would be on my mind. I’d be wondering who noticed it and I’d constantly be trying to hide it with my hand or notebook. Whew. Now that I’ve acknowledged it, shall we begin?” Another collective laugh and we were now putty in his hands.
Closing paragraph below, but I had to include this favorite commercial >>
Are you showing your clients your human side?
While I believe professionalism should be a core competency of any successful company, we can also find ways to connect as human beings with our clients. This approach isn’t necessarily for every single organization and situation, but it can work well for most. What are some of your personal experiences or examples you’ve seen of other companies doing this? I’d love to hear your stories…