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Brainstorm: Do You Suffer From an I Infection?
How do you feel when you have a brainstorm?
Something you never thought of before suddenly becomes clear and powerful and takes over your consciousness. And if the idea is huge, it becomes all you can think about.
Ironically, this big, big, big brainstorm can often be something tiny, a simple tweak of something tried, true, and already taken for granted.
If you have had this experience, you know what happened to me on Friday.
Let me tell you about it:
I was sitting in my monthly networking meeting. Our first activity is to introduce ourselves. We go around the giant conference table, and all 45 members present themselves one by one.
They say their name, “Good morning. I’m Joe Blow and…” They then list almost everything they do or have done or will do in their lives. But unfortunately, most of these autobiographies suffer from what my good friend Dave Bricker calls “an I infection.”
“First, I did this; then I did that. I serve on this board and I serve on that committee, and I wrote this book and I won this award and I got that honor. I live here and there; I’m doing this and that…”
As Dave says, “an I infection.”
This flies in the face of my profound belief in the All About Them strategy I wrote about in the book of the same name.
But THAT wasn’t the inspiration for my epiphany or for this post. Instead, the ground-shifting learning was elementary.
Simple. But not simplistic.
Here’s what happens when someone introduces themselves: They stand up, state their name, do their introduction, list their accolades, and then sit down.
Here’s what you hear: “My name is blah blah blah, and I founded blah blah blah. I managed it, and then I sold it, and I started blah blah blah. Since then, I’ve invested in blah blah blah and blah blah blah blah blah blah …”
Not very interesting, right?
But what would happen if one of those blah blah blahs did catch your interest? What if they said something that you want to follow up on? Sadly, you don’t remember their name because they said it before you cared. Worse, they don’t repeat it when they finish their presentation. So, unless you can find them after the event, you may have no way to follow up.
But what if they made one little bitty change to their presentation?
What if they made their introduction and THEN they said their name?
That way, if you had heard something you wanted to follow up on, you’d listen to their name when you cared to know what it was. And then you’d know with whom you needed to follow up.
When this thought crossed my mind, my head almost exploded. I’ve been sitting in meetings for nearly 40 years, and as far as I can remember, I’ve never heard this happen. Never. Not once.
How is that possible?
Lucky for me, I was the last in line to present myself. That meant I could try out my new theory on the spot.
It was weird to start without saying, “Hi, I’m Bruce Turkel.” But the only one who seemed to notice was me. And then, after I finished my 20-second talk on how I could improve their businesses, I ended with, “I create messaging strategies and build brands for great companies and dynamic entrepreneurs. My name is Bruce Turkel.”
(cue Mic drop).