Even if you aren't a professional speaker, an actor, or a social media “influencer”...if you are a business owner, no matter where you are, consider yourself “on stage”. Why? Because one never knows when or where you will meet your next customer, business partner, employee, or friend. Case in point...
It was ten years ago this week, and I was on my way to Long Branch, New Jersey to deliver a social media marketing presentation to over 500 entrepreneurs. (Yes, I've been doing social media marketing for that long, and even longer!)
The best way to get to Long Branch from my home in the Midwest was via a flight to Newark, and then a 2 hour train ride from the airport to the “Jersey Shore” of Long Branch, NJ. My flight arrived late in the evening, so when I boarded the train, it was already dark.
I'm a “read my book and mind my own business” kind of traveler, so that's what I was doing as the train was rolling southward. BUT, I do make it a deliberate practice to maintain situational awareness at all times.
It wasn't long before my senses were tingling, telling me something was off. Looking around, I noticed a group of not-so-savory-looking characters had boarded the train car. I also noticed that several rows in front of me sat a couple of young ladies who appeared to be VERY uncomfortable with the darkness outside the train...and even less comfortable with the sudden new passengers inside the train.
I decided to gather up my things and move seats. I wasn't sure if me moving closer to the fair travelers would make their discomfort situation worse, but I figured if didn't matter. I strive to be the guy who can be relied upon in an emergency, so if something happened, I wanted to be in the right position to react and intercept.
After a few minutes, I broke the ice with the ladies traveling together. We had a nice talk, and it turns out they were business owners traveling to the very same event where I was headed to speak and coach! Nothing bad actually happened that night...so the three of us chatted the evening away as the train rolled down the tracks...
A few days later, when I was on that stage, guess who was clapping and cheering the loudest? That's right, the wonderful people I met on the train before I ever knew they would be students at the seminar!
You just never know where, when or how you will meet someone important to your business. So treat everyone you meet with kindness, respect, and dignity. Your kindness will be returned. In my case it was validated with applause, but in your case it may be something even more valuable to your business.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this story, this true event took place a decade ago. Just this week, one of those ladies from the train reached out to me and said “I've told the story many, many times of the nice man who made me feel safe on a very scary evening in New Jersey.”
I was so honored that a decade later she was still telling stories about some random guy on a train. She gave me permission to share this story, as well as her original post about it (see below). So I wanted to recognize her. Her name is Robin Mcintire, and she is a successful wellness coach for women. Check Robin's business out at https://robinmcintire.com, and let her know “that guy from the train in New Jersey told me about you”!
Marty M. Fahncke is an expert in multi-channel direct response marketing with over 30 years experience. Having been involved in marketing campaigns that have generated over one BILLION dollars in sales, Marty has seen what works...and what doesn't.