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Sunday, June 29, 2014

All characters are imaginary

Man: So, what do you do for a living?
Prospective Groom: I am a story teller. I spin stories about products so that people can relate to them.
Man: That's alright.. But what do you do?
Prospective Groom: Oh, you mean job title? Brand Manager.
Man: How much do you earn?
Prospective Groom: About 100k, plus bonuses.
Man: But you are not an Engineer?
Prospective Groom: No.
Man: Oh (disappointed)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Confessions of a Marketer

Your profession makes an impression on your character. Policemen often develop a good eye for things, lawyers have good ears, and teachers should have a gift of the gab. Someone in marketing should learn peacocking early in life. There is no place for introverts here. Sure, I like to curl up on the sofa with my preferred device, a cup of tea, (maybe a cuddly kitten) and type away to glory, but every day I have to think- how can I help others reach their target audience in this world of clutter ? It is advised to have a dialogue, not one-way communication that only pushes their agenda. Followers like authentic, responsive and compelling content.

And sometimes, you have to be obnoxiously cocky. Feign it. Believe in it. I think I was born for this.

Now that I have done some shameless self-promotion, let us get to the crux of this post- how do you motivate talented but invisible members of your team to be more involved? It is a well-known fact that some work cultures prefer extroverts over introverts. Yet, sometimes introverts have a lot more to add to a discussion than they readily contribute. What you need to tell your introvert employees is that networking is a learnable skill. Also, rapport building need not be an exclusive trait of the extroverts. It is more essential to have a few meaningful relations than several superficial ones. Think of it as your Klout score. Your influence is measured by your ability to drive people into action. If an introvert spends 40 mins on 5 prospects and converts 3 of them, but an extrovert talks to 20 and converts only 2- whom would you rather have? A good team has a healthy balance of both and a leader should make it conducive for all kinds of employees to thrive in their ecosystem.

Also, read why marketing needs more introverts on HBR blog.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Are you articulate?

You will never see a European apologizing for his accent. Almost 7 years in the U.S, and I still speak very Indian English, neutral at best. My professors always graded me well for presentations, potential clients understand what I say, and yesterday I had a 2-hour long conversation with someone who shares my passion for women empowerment.

Sometimes, I speak very fast (trying to change that). Recently, I have downloaded an app that helps me to analyze my pronunciation by comparing audio waves with a template. I have a lot to learn. I am taking a course in public speaking to boost my confidence.

But when I look at the videos of successful people of Indian origin in Silicon Valley, I don't see them faking an accent. All I see is their competence, their expertise, their depth of knowledge in their chosen field. And this makes me believe that confidence and articulation comes from a thorough understanding of your subject- you can not fake that.

Update: My friends and family say that my accent has changed organically over the years. I will upload another soundcloud file to examine the difference.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

On Father's Day

My father doesn't browse Internet much these days, so no point in wishing him Father's Day here. But I am grateful to him for several reasons-
  1. For standing by me for every decision I took. Right or wrong, he let me own my life.
  2. Investing in my education. My life would have been very different, had he not been progressive by Indian standards
  3. Teaching me to value my dignity, and not to get trampled upon for a 'good woman' certificate.
  4. Letting me see his vulnerable side once when I was very ill. Most people think that he is a very strong man, his traits aligned with his past profession as a police officer, but I know that he is a poet at heart. And this makes me believe that someone who is sometimes intimidating on the outside can be an imputrescible child deep inside.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Trade show 101

  1. Prepare your pitch, but make it more conversational. Ask questions. Get to know your potential clients.
  2. Get a business card scanner app. You don't want to be buried in information and lose contacts. It is also easier to connect on LinkedIn later.
  3. Have an appointment schedule if you are also setting up meetings with people from other departments.
  4. Have your devices handy, but don't forget old pen and paper. Quick Notes is not as quick as quick notes.
  5. Ask advice from someone who has done it before. They always have something valuable to add.
  6. Don't forget your camera.
  7. Never, never, never wear heels.

How can you tell a noob from an expert in a trade show? Look at the shoes. More comfortable they look, more experienced they are.  They don't need to walk for years to reach the restroom and miss a prospect in the process.

Good luck.