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Saturday, 14 December 2013

Rubbing Shoulders with Important People

Who Are The Important People?
Yes, who are the important people? Celebrities? Presidents or important political figures? Members of the royal families? Self-made billionaires or wealthy offsprings of old money? High-flying management moguls of large corporations? High-level religious leaders? 

Or simply people in professions such as doctors, lawyers, certified public accountants or professional engineers?

It could be anyone, really. Anyone that someone feels is important, is proud to be associated with, part of the movers-and-shakers team in any given industry.

Rubbing Shoulders with Important People
Yes, these "important people" may be high up there, both in society's hierachy and perhaps status.  They may hang out at or reside at areas you may never cross paths with.

But then again, these days, the world is small and people seem to know each other, or know of each other somehow.

When introduced to someone who is obviously a "Somebody" in a certain industry, some people panic. Seasoned sales managers have been known to tremble at the thought of doing a presentation to famously important people; glib talking life coaches have been known to turn tongue-tied when introduced to famous celebrities. 

The question is, why do we allow ourselves to be reduced to jelly or dust when faced with someone supposedly "important" or "famous?"

"I don't know," exclaims Carla*, a socialite who is used to meeting people of high society through her family's connections. "I felt so self-conscious when I was seated next to this actor at the charity gala dinner the other night, and he wasnt even very famous! I was like, did I say the right thing? What does he think of me? Am I holding my fork the right way?" She adds as an afterthought, "And it wasn't even like I fancied him or a date, yet I just felt so... unsure of myself suddenly!"

It is common, actually. People usually see these important more of an icon or a brand name rather than a normal human being just like you and I. These people did great things, these people are famous, surely they are different?

Not so much, actually. 

To the public, perhaps they retain a cool exterior, totally untouchable and confident. However, they are really just breathing, thinking, talking, eating, farting, sleeping, drinking, laughing and crying humans like us. It is just that they never exhibit these traits in front of the television or on a podium, when making a speech. 

But really, do you expect that they've never dropped a fork onto the floor while dining, or accidentally burped in a meeting room before? Never tripped and fell down a curb or cried over someone they loved, too?

Handling the VIPs

Relax, and just be yourself. That way, only one person wears the mask and they appreciate you for your sincerity.  Even if you make dumb remarks out of nervousness or by accident, they do not mock you for making wrong comments to "act smart", but rather, appreciate your frankness and in turn they will  become more friendly towards you.

If you choose to put on a facade and act like you know everything to impress them, trust me, it usually does not work. They can feel it when you are bull-shitting, and this in turn makes their own defense levels go up. They have probably more experience and tried more fine things than you, so unless you are sure you have the upper hand on a certain subject, do not attempt a failed move at impressing anyone important or more seasoned. Humility always wins hands down.

If there is a need to share an experience or two, make it sound exactly that - a past experience. No need to exaggerate on the details or highlight the pricey joints or branded goods you enjoyed. A real person in turn brings out the realness in an unreal person. Let them impress you, and act awed even if you are not - important people like to feel important, easy as that.

I remember that when I had to conduct presentations to C-level management people of large corporations, or meet up with lawyers / doctors for appointments, I had been nervous and worried as well. Yes, I knew my products, but could I convince these people, really?

Then my director assured me that I should be very confident in my presentation. "Because, while they may be experts in their field, i.e. legal or medical, they may not understand everything about our industry. Hence, it is up to us to educate them, and answer their questions to help them understand better to make the right decisions."  Right. They're just flesh and blood like us, too, anyway.

Association with Important People
Then there are the people who enjoy flaunting names of important people and making it known that "Oh, I know XXX (i.e. a tycoon)!" or worse, "Oh no, I lost my mobile phone. What if someone picks it up and sees the numbers of all these celebrities etc in my phone?"

Yes, roll-eye moments. 

Some people liked to act all-important, and enjoy name dropping in every conversation. They don't seem to understand how shallow and silly they make themselves look.

An ex-colleague once said something that I find to be very apt - "Why keep talking about which important persons they know? Why don't they work hard to become important themselves so that others can proudly say they're associated with these people instead?"

Exactly. Rather than wasting efforts and energies talking about other people and their lives, how the association about, why not work hard at becoming important ourselves so that other people drop our names about?

Also, all this while these boasters are busy talking about their "famous" acquaintances or friends, I seriously wonder, do these famous people really know these boasters? Do these boasters even ever cross the minds of these important people? 

For all you know, there could come a day when these boasters bump into their famous "friends" on the streets, and call out to them loudly only to receive a "Sorry, you are?" response in return. Now that would be funny.

Bottom line is, we may respect and feel proud to be associated with some people who are indeed the "Somebodies" in their industries or countries, but there is no need to flaunt it at all.  Just be aware of who are those in our own lists of contacts, and how they may come in handy one day, that should suffice.

Utilize the time and energy to create something useful and beneficial for ourselves, i.e. make a name for or make serious bucks for ourselves. That way, even if we flaunt the names sometimes, the names being flaunted may actually be proud to be associated, in turn.

Disclaimer: Names changed to protect privacy. This article and interview conducted herein is strictly the property of the Blog Owner who owns all copyright  © and no part of this work may be reproduced or republished without the permission of the Blog Owner. All Rights Reserved.

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