The view from our apartment balcony, looking toward the Old Town of Dubrovnik.
George Bernard Shaw was enchanted by this beautiful city, about which he said, “Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik and see Dubrovnik”.
I spent almost three months in Croatia last winter and I distinctly remember stepping out of the shower one morning and while drying my face, realizing how different my life was there versus in the U.S. The feeling and the smell of the towel could only come from one that’s been air-dried on a clothesline, infused with the noon sun and the fresh Adriatic Sea air – not from a super-duper, multi-buttoned, lights-flashing stackable LG dryer.
I instantly snapped into the present that day and realized how the recent changes in my location had given me a completely new perspective. When you’re in a new environment, your senses are acute; you’re actively thinking and all your assumptions are called into question when observing other people, cultures, and the way they do things. “Why do I do things that way?” For example, when you go to a store in Croatia, the tellers will not take money out of your hand or put change directly into your hand. There is always a little tray for the exchange. If I did find myself instinctively handing money directly to them, there was an awkward pause.
There’s a valuable lesson to be learned from my brush with greatness (the towel scene).
Most of the emails I receive from our PitchRate community have a common theme: “How do I avoid getting that ‘awkward pause’ from the media or my audience?” Aka, “How do I get unstuck?” The simple answer is: get a new perspective. This may sound flippant and overly simplistic, but often the most powerful solutions are the simplest.
Now, to be clear, I’m not suggesting that you pack up your dogs like we did and move to Europe. That would be insane, right? What I am suggesting is you find a way to bring the same sense of wonder and presence to your business. The best way is to go out and explore. Find out from your clients or customers and from the media how the world occurs for them, what they want, and what’s going to make a difference for them. In other words, how do they want their money handed to them? How do they want their towels dried? I know we sometimes resist doing this, but if you’re stuck and you’re not getting the results that you want, trust me, this is the fastest way to learn their “culture”.
For all you know you might be speaking to your target audience in a foreign language and you don’t even know it.
Let me know where your travels take you!