I just came back from a long vacation. I returned with 1500 photos that, through immense effort, I was able to cull down to a 200-image travelogue. It will be a great keepsake from our trip that I know I will enjoy in the future. But right now I’m tired of looking at those damn photos and I can’t imagine subjecting my friends to them. Who wants to be that guy that bores people with his home movies?
Yet everyone asked, “How was your trip? When will we see some pictures?” They really were interested and were excited to see the dozen special photos I finally shared with them. They seemed to get a thrill from vicariously visiting exotic lands through my photos.
I had a similar experience with a major trade show recently. We prepared for months to make a big splash. We agonized over the design of the booth, honed our marketing messages, sweated the fine points of our demonstrations, carefully rehearsed our presentations and worked tirelessly to arrange customer meetings. All that preparation really paid off. We had the best show ever with a packed booth, lots of PR and many leads. By the time we were done we were elated but exhausted and thoroughly sick of the demos and presentations.
Yet when we got home, everyone in the company asked enthusiastically, “How was the show?” They wanted to experience our triumph and share in the excitement. And well they should since everyone in the company had contributed in their own way to our ability to shine. So despite being a little sick of the whole thing we put together a webinar to provide employees with a virtual experience of the trade show.
The feedback was overwhelming! One employee gushed, “I can’t believe this is the same company from a year ago”. Everyone left the webinar impressed, proud and energized about the future. In a company, like many, that sometimes struggles with employee engagement, this one impromptu presentation buoyed spirits and gave people confidence.
The lesson, of course, is that even in the weariest organizations, people want to be proud of their company’s success and recognized for their own efforts. The best way to do this isn’t for managers to say it but to show it through the reaction of people outside the company: journalists writing glowing articles, analysts acknowledging progress in their reports and customers choosing suppliers and buying products.
So, next time you come back to the office tired but victorious, remember to relive the glory one more time with your team. It’s the one time you can be confident that people will be glad to sit through your home movies!