I’ve been watching the CNN series on First Ladies. I find them really interesting stories about strong women.
They kicked off the series a couple of weeks back with Michelle Obama as the first episode. As a Canadian that was living in Ireland in the 00s, I first got to know about Michelle after she was already first lady. I didn’t know her story before that time. (Note to self – read Becoming). So I was surprised by a segment that talked about her development as a speaker. I think of her as the passionate powerful speaker she is today.
They showed a clip of Michelle Obama giving an early speech during the 2008 campaign. She was talking very passionately. Her hands were clenched in fists with an extended index finger wagging making her point. The opposition press was calling Michelle an angry black woman. Negative labeling.
Senior advisor David Axelrod took Michelle aside and played a video of that speech for her with the sound turned off. She looked at herself and said, I see. Consequently, she went to work on her body language. With great success.
Hearing that story, I now notice that when I look at her as a passionate speaker. I see someone with open body language. Hands open. Palms up. Almost yoga Tadasana.
To me, one lesson from this story is that no matter how natural our strengths are, we can always look at how we use them and make changes. We can always grow and develop. Strengthen our strengths, so to speak. Even if that takes a “I see” moment to understand we need to.
For me, who’s a geek, I love helping people embrace using and understanding tech and data. In applied way, so that it supports and supplements their own strengths. Helping non-technical people get the most from their tech, in order to make their lives easier.
I see your tech toolkit as something that can compare with Michelle’s use of body language and hand gestures. It’s not an end in itself. It’s there for you to use it to showcase and supplement your strengths of marketing know-how, customer engagement and communication skills.
So I’d like to pose a question. What does your marketing impact look like when the sound is turned off? Metaphorically. Is your use of tech giving the wrong impression of you? Helping or hurting your messaging? Are people not getting the right message because the delivery mechanism needs work.
Likewise, can you identify an area of tech you want to improve on that will help you achieve your larger goals? An area that will have the greatest impact on what is truly important to you?