Holiday Leadership Lessons from the Movies:
Elf: Enthusiasm Is Contagious
Take a six-foot tall adopted elf named Buddy (played by Will Ferrell) who wants to find his birth father, make that father the prickly James Caan, and throw them together in the midst of New York City and see what happens. Buddy wants a warm and cuddly family reunion; his father Walter wants nothing more than to make this new-found son disappear, preferably with a pair of cement boots on him.
Ah, but this is Christmas, so not only does Buddy convince his new family that syrup tastes good on everything; he also wins the heart of his stepmother, half-brother, and the cynical Jovie, his new love. And yes, Walter eventually sees the light.
So business owners, here’s your business lesson from Buddy the Elf: “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing aloud for all to hear.”
So… what if you’re not Santa? Buddy would tell you it doesn’t matter. Enthusiasm is catching. No one is going to be more excited about your business, your product, your podcast, your class, your blog than you are. Be enthusiastic with your staff, your vendors and your customers. You MUST BELIEVE. If you don’t BELIEVE how can anyone else?
Sometimes we feel a little hesitant to show our enthusiasm. It can be risky to show how much we care about something. But if we don’t show our passion, we’re not going to convince anyone else to follow or act on our recommendations. We’ve even been trained to not brag, not show off and so those types of behaviors often feel uncomfortable. Overcome it. Jump out of your comfort zone and share proudly with enthusiasm your business. Your excitement will be contagious.
Think about the last time you went out to eat. If the waiter or waitress gave a lackluster endorsement to the daily special, you likely took a pass. But if she or he said, “I just tried it before my shift and it was delicious!” you’d be a little more likely to partake. Enthusiasm sells. Period.
Here are a few tips to make like Buddy the Elf without sounding like a used car salesman (or an escapee from the North Pole):
- Be honest. Don’t sell or promote something you don’t believe in. It never works – people can tell, and you’ll damage your reputation. BELIEVE.
- Be yourself. You may be the understated type who isn’t going to jump out of a helicopter a la Richard Branson to promote your latest business venture. You don’t have to be! (One Richard Branson is enough for this world.) But do show your energy in a way that is natural for you, and push your comfort zone a bit.
- Be realistic. If you promote every new thing that comes down the block, or have a new solution du jour, pretty soon no one is going to listen to you.
You don’t have to dress up in pointy shoes to get people to buy your new ??????. But hey… if the shoe fits… why not?
At the minimum, don’t promote things you aren’t passionate about yourself. Don’t sell the broken down “used car”. Sell yourself, your own enthusiasm and passion for your product and service, and sell your belief.
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