The Granny Lesson

My mom and dad have seven grandchildren. Three live in the US and four live in Ireland. The ones who live in the US live relatively close to my parents so they see each other often. The grandkids in Ireland, however, don’t have the benefit of being with my parents much. But, that hasn’t affected their relationship. The kids Skype with my parents on a weekly basis so that they can see and speak with each other. It’s as good as living down the street.

One of the last times my mom went to Ireland, my youngest nephew, who was three at the time, saw her in the airport and went running up to her and gave her a huge hug. He knew who she was and was thrilled to know that his granny was going to spoil him for the next week or so.

I have channel partners all over the Americas. We email often and have good, productive, email exchanges. However, it’s the phone calls and in person meetings that are the best. We can relate to each other and there’s something about sitting in a room with someone and hearing their voice that changes a relationship. Words written in an email can be taken so many different ways so if you don’t have an established relationship, then words can easily be taken the wrong way. When you sit face to face or hear a voice over the phone, you can get the tone of the voice and can really get a better understanding of what the person with whom you’re speaking, really means.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have built strong relationships with my channel partners over the phone, and of course email, that when we meet face to face, it’s like we’ve know each other for years, understand each other and give each other hugs. (For the record, I don’t suggest hugging people you don’t have a relationship with and if you’re unsure about it. A smile and handshake will work just as well.)

My challenge to you,  get out of the email rut, stop texting, walk over to someone’s desk, pick up the phone or hop on a plane and meet someone face to face. The bond that you build can be as strong as my nephew’s and my mom’s.

Baby strokes!

My six year old niece started her first swim lessons this week. Monday she was nervous and thought about bailing out of lessons – little did she know that her granny was going to make her go in the water if she liked it or not. After 30 minutes of class with two other little kids and a whole lot of attention by the instructor, she was able to blow bubbles and get ¾ of her face in the water.

Tuesday she was much braver. She swam 42 loops (in the baby pool) with her arm bands on and loved it. She was really getting the hang of it yet still she wouldn’t put her face completely in the water – it was a bit too scary.

Wednesday I told her I’d give her $1 if she put her whole face in and low and behold, I’m $1 poorer today. She also was able to swim with the kickboard and holding on to the instructor. She went as far as the middle of the pool.

Today, Thursday, she was swimming by herself in the big pool. The instructor would stand in the middle of the big pool and she’d kickboard out to him. When she got to him, he’d pick her up and throw her back in the pool and she’d be completely under water. She’d pop back up, swim to the side and then head out back to him where he would throw her again to be completely submerged in water. She loved it!

Think of your references the same way. Sometimes your contact will not have done one before and might need some hand holding or guidance. Take baby steps with them and once they feel comfortable working with you on a press release and/or case study, introduce them to the idea of speaking with the press and then maybe an analyst or a video testimonial. They might even look to their PR or Legal department to get approval and might get shot down. That’s okay, my niece didn’t learn to swim or stick her head completely under water in a day but by the time she’s done with her lessons next week she’ll be a pro!