9/20/13

Finding love at a personal branding consultants' convention


Two professional personal branding consultants attending a personal branding consultants' convention fall in love at the cocktail reception.

"Hi! Name's Chad... says right here on the old name tag!"

"Hi Chad, great to meet you, I'm Sally! Wow, terrific handshake you have there, firm yet warm, I get the feeling you're a confident, trustworthy kind of individual. How's the evening treated you so far?"

"Fantastic! What did you think of that 'Putting the You in You-niverse' seminar? Wasn't it mind-blowing? There's so much positive energy in this room, I really feel pumped to be able to harmonize with all this constructive synergy!"

"I know, I can tell from your big white gleaming toothy smile that you too are having a great time!"

"So I take it then that you are too?"

"Oh absolutely! But I guess you could already tell from these big gleaming teeth I get whitened regularly!"

"Of course I could, and it's so important too, because, as you yourself know all too well, a confident bright smile projects the confidence you have within you and inspires confidence and trust in the person opposite you as well. In this case, the You is Me!"

"I could not agree more, Chad. It is you. Notice how I maintain eye contact to increase a sense of sincere conviviality between us while also making you feel desired and interesting? This increases your sense of trust in me which will be great when I try to sell you something or convince you to do business with me."

"Congratulations, great eye contact, I certainly do feel special already, and we're only a few seconds into the conversation! I would be very open to anything you say right about now. Well done! I also make sure to maintain eye contact, and also proceed to ask questions about you so as to make you feel important, desired and interesting as well, which means you'll warm up to me and like me quicker, so I too can pedal my own inevitable money-making agenda. Here's one of those questions I've already lined up beforehand: Where do you workout? You have a fantastic physique!"

"Oh I like how you both asked a question to show that you show interest in me, Chad, and also added a cleverly disguised compliment in there designed to flatter me! I do indeed workout Chad, five times a week, in fact... mostly Crossfit, but also Tae-Bo and Pilates... Your avid head nodding and unflinching smile make me feel like I'm the center of interest and that you're genuinely enthralled by my answer, thereby encouraging me to continue on the same topic."

"Please tell me more about your Crossfit training, and also your Paleo diet... Excuse me for presuming you're on the Paleo diet, but..."

"I am! I am on the Paleo diet, good guess, although I suppose everyone at this convention is also on the same diet, considering we were all on the same Atkin's Diet at the 2002 convention. But I did not find it too presumptuous of you to mention it Chad, because I'm keeping things positive! An outward appearance of positivity is crucial because I find that how you look on the outside inspires a positive reaction in the people around you while also projecting confidence and power, thus making you a desirable person other people will want to get to know, thereby transforming you into a brand that people will want to consume and will simply not get enough of! Don't you agree Chad?"

"Absolutely, Sally. Say, have you read that book 'How to Influence People and...'?"

"'WIN FRIENDS! YES, oh my God, I love that book! I feel like those 12 step goals have made people genuinely interested in me, increasing my influence over them and..."

"...winning you friends, wow, I can't believe I knew you were going to say that... High five! Isn't life great Sally?"

"Oh it most certainly is great Chad! Cheers to life, and also cheers to standing out from the crowd in life! It feels really special to be part of this whole crowd of people here at this convention where every single person stands out from the crowd!"

"It sure does. Achieving your personal goals on a daily basis and seeing yourself transform into a person who projects confidence and charisma at ever increasing gradations through a pre-scheduled and intricately planned span of time is certainly what makes me happy to be alive, Sally!"

"I think I can second that, Chad!"

"Don't second it, FIRST it!"

"Ha ha, terrific!"

"By the way, Sally, aren't you impressed with how often we repeat our names to each other? Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language."

"I know! That's from 'Six Ways to Make People Like You', isn't it? I love that quote!"

"Yes it is! I totally agree with it too, because it's very important to maintain the appearance of being absolutely engaged wholeheartedly in the conversation you're in, thereby gaining that person's confidence, attention and attraction, all of which translates to making YOU a more attractive person as well, and, dare I say it, a more desirable brand that others would love to consume!"

"Yes! Although I'm pretty sure I said exactly the same thing a few minutes ago, didn't I?"

"Did you? Of course you did! I am listening very carefully to everything you say so as to gain your trust. But I guess we've been reading all the same books so sometimes we say the same things and maybe repeat ourselves and even repeat what the other person also says without knowing, even though we're listening very carefully to each other and also looking like we're listening very carefully to each other!"

"Yes, doing all that is very important while constantly repeating each other's name through the conversation. I guess that's what makes you an attractive person!"

"Me?"

"Yes, well... you and me, actually, both of us... I mean, you use my name and, you know, make me feel special, and I use..."

"Okay okay, yes, I got it now, you weren't talking about me in particular, it was just a general you..."

"Well yeah, but no, it was kinda both... in this particular instance 'You' is you, even though it's actually kind of a general impersonal You that I meant, depending on who I'm talking to, kind of a faceless nameless conceptual You... anyway... "

"Yes, okay I understand Chad, but back to our conversation... While we obviously always project our best selves to others and thereby increase our personal brand awareness and prestige in the eyes of others, I think we could also help each other out by maybe pointing out a few areas where we could improve?"

"Oh of course, we could always improve, nobody's perfect, improvement is an ongoing process, life is about..."

"Yes yes, I know the spiel Chad, no need to repeat it to me here, you were about to quote '20 Ways To Project A Rock Star Personality'... Sorry if I sounded a little impatient there, but remember how we said we've read all the same things? So yeah, you don't need to repeat all that golden advice to each other..."

"Okay sorry"

"No no no, never say you're sorry, that just projects a sense of doubt and lack of confidence about yourself. That's a big no no Chad, especially at a personal branding consultants' convention! People can see right through that here!"

"Oh yes, I forgot for a moment, I had my guard down... well maybe that was a positive reinforcement on your part, because you just helped me by pointing out one of the problems... err, I mean challenges I face in terms of me becoming the best personal brand of me that I can be?"

"Oh absolutely, although the questioning inflection at the end of that sentence also projected a sense of self doubt and insecurity, just another little thing I thought I'd point out, but then that's why we're all here, to help each other become better personal branding consultants, right?"

"Right, but now you're doing the same thing, there was a questioning tone at the end of your sentence too..."

"Yes yes, I know I know, I got that, I was just, you know, making a point, otherwise I would've ended that with a more confident, in-charge-of-conversation kind of tone... but I feel like I'm correcting you too much..."

"Yeah you do come across as a liiiiiittle... what's a positive way to put this? Um.. patronizing?"

"PATRONIZING?! That's the positive way of putting it?! Do you even know what positive means?"

"Whoa whoa, now you're sounding very negative, Sally... and dare I say it, sarcastic as well... sarcasm is for losers, remember?"

"I'm surprised you could even tell considering you don't seem to even know what the word 'positive' means... okay, sorry, that was uncalled for, I lost my temper there for a second, I know I'm a better person than that... I need to project a sense of self-confidence to inspire a sense of brand reliability and trust, and that just sounded cruel, bitter, and weak... I apologize, because apologizing need not be a sign of weakness if we have learnt to confront the weakness that underlies it and have dedicated ourselves to eradicating it and all such negativities from our personalities."

"Okay, apology accepted Sally."

"Alright, good... although... you accepting my apology sounded a little patronizing too though, you know, just saying..."

"Oh, sorry..."

"Don't apologize, remember, never... ugh, I feel like we're going in circles."

"Yeah, sometimes it's hard being a personal branding consultant and a human being at the same time."

"Not hard, perhaps... just a challenge."

"Yeah yeah, that's what I meant... I need another drink"

"You sounded like you said something heartfelt and sincere there Chad when you mentioned being 'a human being'. Good tactic!"

"Oh... thanks, I guess."

"Okay anyway, now perhaps you can do the same for me, Chad? What is something you think I can improve about myself as a personal branding consultant?"

"Well, okay... your smile is great, fantastic... but it's a bit too intense..."

"Oh, too intense is it?"

"Yeah like, right now, you're kind of freaking me out... But not in a negative way, just, you know, it's a bit challenging."

"Oh no no, I think we've both learned to erase that word from our vocabularies"

"What, challenging?"

"No no, the N-word, we do not use the N-word"

"What? Geez! I never used the N-word, I'm not a racist, I'm just very very white..."

"No no, not that N-word, I mean NEGATIVE, we don't use the word 'negative'.."

"Oh right, yes yes, sorry, I got confused there for a second"

"You said 'sorry' again"

"Okay, that was a mistake... I mean, that was a challenge, it was a challenge that I can overcome, not a mistake..."

"That's right, 'mistake' sounds like something you don't want associated with your personal brand"

"Yeah, anyway, I was just saying, Sally, that your smile can be a bit intense... there it is again... your eyes are a little too wide, I shouldn't be able to see the whites all around... and it kind of looks like your nostrils are flaring... I don't mean to sound, you know, N-ish, but your eye contact is now kind of like a threatening stare"

"OH IS IT? MM HMM? YOU FEEL I LOOK THREATENING, CHAD? DO YOU FEEL THREATENED BY ME NOW? MAYBE IT'S YOUR OWN INSECURITIES THAT CREATE THAT SENSE OF THREAT?"

"Oh no no no, I mean one may feel threatened if one were so inclined, but I don't feel threatened personally, I'm self confident enough to not feel threatened in any situation, being threatened, as you know, projects a sense of meekness in the face of adversity, and that's a very unattractive quality for us to have, it's not something you want associated with your own personal brand, it makes you less attractive to others"

"Yes, yes it is, very bad... but bad is such an N-ish word too, let's say it's... improvable"

"What, like, can't be proved? I'm confused"

"No Chad, it can be improved, is what I meant, again you're just thinking negatively"

"Oooo you used that word!"

"Yep, my slip there, you caught me out on that one Brad"

"Chad"

"Yes yes, Chad..."

... awkward silence... both gulp their white wine... looking around room... cold sweat...

"Look, Sally, I have to admit, I'm kinda new to this personal branding consultancy thing..."

"It's okay, it's okay, it takes time to build our own personal brands as personal brand consultants, I mean, I was a... a..."

"Life coach, right? You were about to say life coach? Yeah me too... we all were weren't we, I mean it's like a gateway job into this personal branding stuff..."

"Yeah... it's not something any of us are too proud of, is it... I mean, let's face it, life coaching is just something that people who don't know what to do with themselves do for people who don't know what to do with their money, right? This is off the record... I'm not talking as a personal branding consultant now, I just want to be a normal person for a change... I just want to talk honestly and not worry about how I'm affecting my personal brand with every goddamn thing I say. I just want to not be a brand or a product for a bit. I want to be a shitty, messed up, fucked up, confused human being..."

"Yeah, no kidding..."

"...And I want another drink... and I want to smoke a fucking cigarette... Wanna get another drink?"

"Yes, hell yes... I feel exhausted, and I hate wearing these clothes. I'm wearing an argyle cardigan for christ's sake. Who does that?"

"Psychopaths."

"Exactly. Everything I wear is ironed, everything's clean, everything's crisp... I feel like I'm constantly living out a lunatic's OCD nightmare"

"Yeah, that's exactly it. Constantly trying to project confidence, reliability, power, perfection... it's insane... It's inhuman. Do you know how many nervous breakdowns I've had since my divorce, Brad, or Chad or whatever the fuck your name is? Three... that's three nervous breakdowns in two years. And I'm not even counting the panic attacks."

"You think that's bad? I chew on a leather belt when I'm alone. My real name isn't Chad, it's Reginald. I owned a sporting goods store that went bankrupt two years ago. Also, I'm addicted to porn."

"Really? Fuck it. I've got so many prescription drugs running through my system right now my urine smells like a retirement home."

"I think those guys behind you can hear us..."

"Who cares, they're all deranged. YEAH, YOU HEARD ME! Now take off your name tag and let's get out of here, find a bar, and then go fuck in a motel, Reginald."

"Call me Reg. And you know what? I actually like you. It's the first thing I've said all night that I haven't read in some shitty self-help book. It's also the first thing I've said in two years that I actually mean. I. Like. You."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah."

They tongue. Right there. At the cocktail.