A few years ago, I made a life-altering decision. I was obese and self-conscious, so I signed up for gastric bypass surgery. Vanity and health-related issues like diabetes influenced this decision, but in all honesty, vanity was the primary contributor. My reason: Just once in my life I wanted people to look at me and say, “My, she has a nice figure.”
I was a size 22/24. Yep, obese. I’ll skip the details, but the end result was that I lost almost 100 pounds and was not only “normal” but better than normal. Clothed, I had a great bod. Unclothed, another story. But I later fixed that, too, though it has nothing to do with this story. Now between sizes six and eight, I had a lot of “big lady” clothing in my closet. It was designer stuff (Yes, they have designers for large sizes) and expensive. By now, you already know that my great love is, and always has been, shopping.
This information is important to my story because my medical group offered support meetings every week, and part of its routine was to have people bring in the clothes that they had outgrown so that those losing weight wouldn’t have to buy new clothing as they down-sized. Some of the ladies were almost 400 or 500 pounds, and I decided to bring them my clothes, thinking that by the time they got to my size 22s they could have a glamorous wardrobe.
So, I attended one of these meetings with bags filled with my lovely offerings. To kick the meeting off, the facilitator asked, “So what’s the best part of losing weight?”
One lady responded, “I can walk into K-Mart and buy anything I want now.”
I should have grabbed my bags and run at that moment, but I didn’t. At the end of the meeting, the various bags people had brought were opened, and clothes started being passed around. I happily anticipated the joy of watching women seize my designer clothes, ranging from evening gowns to business suits. It didn’t happen. These women were almost repelled as they handled my clothing. They snickered at the evening wear …”Where they hell would I wear THAT? When I shoveled horseshit?” Business suits were almost as denigrated.
I was aghast. I knew I (and my clothes) didn’t belong there.
Know your audience. Do your research. Know who you are speaking to and what their likes and dislikes are. Are they young and if-I-don't-get-it-in-a-text-I-won't-read-it" or are they a "paint me a picture in words" type?
Do they have limited time? Are they world travelers? Are they gourmands? Do they like classic rock or classical music? Are they family-oriented or young singles?
For sure if you don't know who you are appealing to, you won't be appealing, and they won't listen to what you have to say, written or spoken. Because here's the key. It's all about THEM, not YOU, THEM!
Andrea Michaels is the founder/president of multiple award-winning Extraordinary Events, an international event agency based in Los Angeles. She is the author of Reflections of a Successful Wallflower –Lessons in Business; Lessons in Life. To learn more about her and her company, visit http://www.extraordinaryevents.com. Andrea may be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.