November 15, 2009

Reading The Room

Years ago I worked with a sales guy who used to constantly remind me to “read the room”. He felt it was paramount that he knew the dress code of each meeting, who was attending and how the client’s pain was going to be cured.

Room? What Room?

The theory of reading the room or knowing your audience seeps into all that we do. It becomes especially tricky through the digital channels we reside.

Mitch Joel recently wrote a post about the difficulty of scaling your personal brand.

If you build a community then tell that community you don’t have time for them, how long will members remain?

The challenge is that we often want to share information but can’t give it all away for free. Time and money make for a delicate dance.

Defining The Room

I was speaking with a colleague recently who is a VP at one of the major U.S. cellular companies and he shared with me the story of dealing with one of his largest clients. This six figure client owns a big construction company whose world does not include a sales guy in a suit.

My buddy’s boss wanted to meet this client. So he suggested he'd pick him up on the way to the meeting. As suspected, the boss was in need of a wardrobe change. He told him to lose the suit and tie clip in favor of jeans and a golf shirt.

The meeting was held at a construction site - the client’s room - and the language was a tad looser than some would expect.

It Ain't About You

The boss was shocked by the repeated expletives by both men. The client said that his team was very happy with their new digital devices and all was going well. My buddy's boss learned a lesson about clients and suits. Thanks Chuck for sharing that story!

If we pay attention we can often figure out who we want to engage and those we don't, after we read the room.

Is it important to 'read the room'?
What are your thoughts?

@knealemann
marketing and social media strategy

image credit: netmaestro.co.nz

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