I remember the iconic NECCO (New England Confectionary Company) factory building on Mass Ave (Massachusetts Avenue for out-of-towners) in Cambridge. You couldn’t live in the area and not be aware of those sweet smells. This is where the ubiquitous little Valentine conversation hearts were first made in 1902. Don’t laugh…around 8 BILLION of those heart-shaped candies are now produced yearly!
Candy Equals Sweet
But it’s not just the sugar, is it? There’s an implied sweetness, or caring, in those little messages: CUTIE-PIE. HUG ME. MISS U. UR KIND. BE MINE. Corny but cute. They make us smile.
What’s the Connection?
Translate that feeling into your communications by creating an atmosphere of caring. Make people smile. Or feel noticed, seen and valued. Be interested. Value (even if you disagree with) their input.
Please and Thank You: so simple; so important. And so easy to forget in the busyness and business of every day. We all need to hear those words and they never get old.
Acknowledge Others: think of communications as a loop. Message sent; has it been received? I don’t know if you don’t tell me. And others don’t know if you don’t tell them. Hopefully we create these loops all day long, which is a good thing. Please don’t leave people hanging.
Honor Your Audience: meet them where they are now, before you try and move them towards where you want them to go. Don’t come in with guns blazing with your brilliance. Say hello first.
Love Your Material
Care About Your Content: find a way to fall in love with what you’re talking about. If you don’t care, why should your audience?
Say You and Your: these are very important words to your audience’s ears, and you should be using them. A lot. It’s not all about you.
Which Means That…: this is a terrific phrase to keep translating what you’re saying to what the actual benefit is for your listeners. Help them see the value, the pay-off.
You’re Only As Good As The Stage Hands
At age 19, I performed with a professional Quebecois dance company, doing a bus-and-truck tour across Canada. We played in huge venues, where there was no time to get back to a dressing room for quick costume changes.
You literally danced offstage, stood in the wings with arms and legs akimbo, were stripped down by your dressers and re-costumed, from bottom to top, in less than a minute, to be ready for your next cue. No time for modesty. You had to trust the team to get the job done.
There was one never-to-be-forgotten fellow dancer who was a prima donna. She insisted on doing things her way. We were both in a high-kicking, 4-woman Can Can routine. It was one of those split-second costume changes into black fishnet tights, body-hugging little red velvet corset. As the four of us swirled onstage for our big number, I saw an amazing sight.
She had done her own costume change and forgotten her big white cotton underpants (as I mentioned, this was a long time ago), which hung out under her fishnets. And there was nowhere to go! She had to do the entire number pretending not to know how ridiculous she looked.
Be kind to all the helper people. Sound person. Stage Manager. Tech Support. Admins. Assistants. Help them want to help you.
May Your Heart Be With You
No one said this was going to be easy. In many ways, these are harsh times and your audiences may be tired, overworked, cynical and not especially receptive. But they’re human. And we can all use a little love. If not now, when?
I hope you can find the joy. Speak from your heart. Be real. Be open. Be generous. Be kind. Because you are such a CUTIE-PIE!!
From my heart to yours…
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