Years to build it … seconds to lose it! I was reminded of this fact of life in New Orleans. For over two hours I shared useful publicity strategies and techniques with a great group of people. My message was well-received and brought genuine laughter at all the right times. I was having fun and the audience was connecting with me and with my message.
Shortly after my concluding remarks, a number of people approached the podium to offer their appreciation. This gesture is very kind and helps confirm a certain level of satisfaction.
Speakers however, often get into trouble during this impromptu, post-speech ceremony as I did on that particular afternoon. I managed to hurt a woman’s feelings by trying to acknowledge everyone in the group, without focusing on each individual’s needs. At the time I had no knowledge of doing so. Later, this was brought to my attention by the meeting’s conference planner. I felt awful after feeling so good.
I contacted the offended party immediately and offered a sincere apology. She accepted, but not before reminding me of the error of my ways. It hurt.
I had spent two hours building rapport based on truth, style and useful information. I then managed to blow all this goodwill to bits in less than a second as I failed to remember that I was dealing with a group of individuals, not just a group.
So what’s the lesson? Your job isn’t finished until every little detail is addressed. Little things count. You’ll collect no metal for running 99 out of 100 yards. Your professional image takes too long to build … but only seconds to lose. Be a pro. Finish strong. Remember: People are always watching you.
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