I have just started a consulting business to solve people’s problems from their smiles. For the promotions of idea and how it will help them solve their problems in life, I decided that I’ll go to various colleges to target youth. First college was Modern College of Arts, Science & Commerce, Pune. I am sharing the experience and what I learnt from FIRST DAY of promotional campaigning.
On first day, I went to principal’s office to get permission to campaign in their campus. But he was busy, so peon asked me to go to vice-principal’s office. I asked for it and as I started explaining how it will help their students, he asked me, ‘which college do you represent?’ I said that I don’t represent any college. He said we don’t give permission to random people. I left. I planned a lot of things, how I was going to approach, what to say, what to show, and many more. And I also decided that I am not going to lie about anything. But now, what to do? I thought that students did not know whether I had permission or not, they were just going to listen what I had to say. So I decided that I am going to approach people in their campus by breaking the rules. I also saw a board stating that outsiders are not allowed in college premises, if found, strict action will be taken. But I decided whatever may happen, let’s have fun. I had file in which everything had explained, a page on which a story was written about how I found my purpose and a sketch to draw patterns of smile found in people to explain them about themselves. I was wearing formal dress and formal shoes.
I had everything required to start a discussion. I made up my mind to break the rules. But… As I was going to discuss something they do not know even exist, the overwhelming feeling of fear to show up, to expose myself, to express myself was so high. Even though I had everything with me to show them, but I was only walking back and forth in corridor. I couldn’t gather courage to show up. For that moment, I was nervous, uncomfortable, sweating, throbbing in chest, I couldn’t understand what was happening to me, everything was ready, but fear. I thought that breaking the rules were making me nervous, but it was an excuse. Who was going to know whether I was a stranger or college student? That wasn’t the reason. Then I thought that this was not the right platform to promote, no one will show interest, nobody had done it, and it’s new thing. All the excuses were coming into my mind. I thought that what was I thinking? Those were all excuses.
Then all the quotes about fear and getting out of comfort zone came into my mind. What you want is on the other side of fear, magic starts at the end of your comfort zone, you miss 100% of shots you didn’t take, do what’s uncomfortable and you will grow, and many others. But I thought that tomorrow, I will make mind that no matter what will happens I will approach, I will show up. Again, that was excuse. For half an hour, I was walking back and forth with these thoughts in my mind.
Then I took out files and pages of story. I was looking at them and thought, when I didn’t have this, I was hoping, wishing for this. But now I have this and I am holding myself back. I saw a group of four girls sitting in a campus and just started walking towards them, same fear, uncomfortable, just walking. When I reached, they looked me like a salesman who was going to force them to buy my product, only because I was wearing formal clothes. Their faces were irritated. My first impression sucked. With fake smile, I introduced myself, in English. Errr.. Their faces were more annoyed. I asked them for their two minutes and have a look at file. They even hesitated to take those files in hand. But they took it. I forgot everything I planned, what I was going to say, how I was going to make them take interest in idea, I started saying what was there in file, in low tone, in lower confidence, and they were reluctant to make eye contact. They were going through file just because wishing for last page to come soon and I will disappear. I was speaking in English, their heads into files, no enthusiasm in me, they were listening to me for formality. The funniest part, guys sitting next to them, but of different group was also looking at me, and one of them was winking at me, raising eyebrows, asking what’s going on, the guy-guy connection(when a guy approaches a girl, the another guy is more excited). I was telling them by blinking eyes that I’ll get back to them. I didn’t understand whether to laugh or what? In meantime, one of the girls whispered something in Marathi, I couldn’t hear it, but I understood that it was Marathi. Then, I realized that why they were not connecting with me. I started speaking in Marathi. For the first time, after introduction, they looked at me. They felt connected. As I explained everything in Marathi, they were nodding, giving response. The file finished.
Then I said to one of the girl, right now, I’ll tell about you from your smile to give you an idea of how I do. Then she became uncomfortable, she said no, not now. She was laughing, but that time I realized that I should not be the one who should fear about getting exposed. The people whom I am going to approach should fear that if I say something different about them, something weird about them, it’s them who should be worried about. She was reluctant that she wasn’t interested in knowing about her. So I gave them a page of story with contact details on it and asked them to call whenever they need me. Forget about buying my services, they were not ready to know how it works. I left. But I thank them for listening to me.
Then, it was the time for the guys sitting next to them, who were bantering on me, when I was talking to girls. They were ready to listen what I had to offer. This time, I started in Marathi. I was more relaxed, less anxiety on my face. I observed them and knew in which language they will understand (not Marathi or English, but the rowdy Marathi language). I started explaining in their tone, they felt connected, nodding, giving reactions, didn’t understand everything, but trying to. I again explained file only, no strategy executed as per the preparation, but enough to convey my idea. File finished. Then I said to a guy that I’ll tell you about you from your smile. He agreed. Everyone was listening. I drew patterns on page and started explaining everything. I gave examples with reference to who they were and in their tone. (like in rowdy Marathi, samaz tula wadaa-pav khayalaa jaychayy… I couldn’t say ‘for coffee’, they will not feel connected). So as I was explaining them in their way, everyone was surprised. They were smiling in shock, saying yes, yeah.. when I said something that relates to his nature. I said everything I had to say about him and gave him the page. Another guy stood up and said, tell me about myself. I said sure. But their friend came to them and informed them that they got to go. And everybody stood up and said, ‘we gotta go.’ I shook hand with everyone, they told me their names and said nice to meet you, I asked them to contact me on the details I gave on that page and they rushed. Looking at their appearance and body language, I thought they will make fun of me, ridicule me as they were sitting in a group, but they listened to me patiently, earnestly and treated me with respect. I came to know they were not going to buy, but I thank them for listening to me and showing interest.
I got more relaxed. I was thirsty. As I opened zip of bag to take the bottle out and looked back. A teacher in a suit was scolding a student. He was complaining that how many times they had to inform college students not to bring outsiders in the campus. I was little scared, but glad that he wasn’t referring to me. And security guard came and ordered every student in campus to go out of the gate. I thought that I just got momentum and on next second, everything finished, I had to pack up. Everyone was out of the gate. I looked around, thought I can’t approach them on streets, what impression I am going to make, and will they listen to me? Again the same thoughts of that half hour came into my mind. This time, I couldn’t gather courage to approach students on street-side. I contemplated a lot, but couldn’t. Day1 was over for me after first 20 minutes only. I could interact with 10 students only who were not potential buyers. But lot of thing I learnt from that experience that I am going to improve on the next day.
I am sharing some insights that would help you in your endevour to design the best life for yourself:
1. Know with whom you are interacting and Speak Their Language.
2.Talk more about how it will benefit them and what they are concerned about than what it is actaully or technically.
3. Appearance matters, but target audience matters more. We have to look like one of them to connect with them.
4. If it is certain that we miss 100% of the shots we didn’t take, why not to take a shot, take a chance.
5. Our competancy, preparation, passion and all on one hand, they are important. But if we don’t have that one quality on the other hand, it’s all usslasss.. That quality is Courage To Show Up.
6. The crazy fact is, there only one step to aquire that quality : JUST GO & DO IT. There were no any other ways or steps I could find.
In next post, I’ll share experience of DAY2.
Thanks for reading. Add your own lessons and express your views if I missed anything, give your feedback to improve..
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