Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The fine art of telling someone they're wrong (and how to get right)

The other night I was watching Top of the Pops.

I think it was current because they mostly had a bunch of perfomers
I'd never heard of, introduced by gushing street cred presenters I
also didn't recognise, along with their with accents.

And then, all hail, they introduced Robbie Williams.

I have to say, whether the hype made the man or the man made the
hype, he had presence.

And not a little talent. I'm pretty sure that this was a song he (at
least co-) wrote, and was actually delivering it live.

It has been on the radio before, so I knew it slightly.

The studio audience knew it a lot. But unfortunately not enough to
avoid clapping along to a song other than the one actually being sung.

Which is when I observed another of Mr. William's remarkable skills.

Somehow, and I'm still not sure quite how he did it, without actually
stopping singing (and complemented by some hand gestures), he managed
to convey to the star-stuck eager-beavers - who were more interested
in him than his music - that they were in fact compeletely out of
time. This was done with skill, grace and humour enough that no one
missed the point... but neither were they offended by the critique.

And then - this being the important bit - he also managed, quickly
and easily, to get them in time.

That is something to be admired. And copied. Especially when it comes
to shaping consumer behaviour to get us back on track.

I don't think many of us have yet, but I sure intend for to

Unaccustomed as I am...

When we first arrived several years ago, and hot on the heels of a top 40 album success in Asia, we were looking to establish the career of my very talented partner-in-oh-so-many-ways (check for yourself:

Obviously getting her heard by those who would be able to help was a pretty good way to start, so we embarked on a series of gigs around London at various venues who promised exposure in return for free performance. It didn't take us too long to figure out that we were pretty much taking it in turns between being on the stage and being in the audience with a merry bunch of guys in a similar situation. Great fun, but hard to see how it was going to get us anywhere.

So when I arrived at my Cardiff pitch, I felt a certain familiar dread. A quick calculation based on the composition and number of entrants, plus their retinues and those involved (judges, organisers, staff, etc) made it pretty clear I'd blown it before I started.

There were not that many. And those that were there all knew each other. And most were inevitably there to cheerlead the guy they had come with, or the guy they knew.

Which meant that my grand plan was not going to work. Because I'd pretty much decided to use this as an opportunity to share the vision of with the public in the audience.  Only there were none. Everyone was pretty much there to hear an investment pitch, even though it was not for real as there were no investors. And that was what the judges were tasked to do, not unreasonably. In fact not playing the game might have put them a bit offside, on reflection.

Memo to self: amongst the many other pitches needs to and will do, don't let Peter EVER again do one on finances.

Let's just say I didn't blow them away with our business model. Everything to do it is in the plan, but it wasn't 'out there'.

Yet, despite really having better things to look forward to on my birthday than a bit of humiliation followed by a long, cold dark drive back up from Cardiff to wallow in my shame, I think it was worth it.

We ( may one day end up in a lift with someone who will be able to help. With money. With a story on us. By simply signing up. And yet still, if presented with such an opportunity, 'we' would be hard-pressed to convince anyone in that iconic 30 second space and time.

I actually had 6 times that, and still didn't. Worse still, despite having rehearsed several times I was pretty much glued to my prompt notes (a big no-no... who has them in an elevator? And I know all this stuff backwards) and actually ran out of the alloted time well before my scheduled close.

But at least if you're going to die in front of an audience, do it in front of a small, friendly one. 

And if you make mistakes, learn from them... quick.

Thank the lord we didn't get intro Dragon's Den when we applied!