Before we had all of our gadgets, even television and radio, we had to amuse ourselves with books; we learned by tutors unless there was an established school, but for the rich, we turned to mostly tutors, learned men of the day. Different subjects for different sexes, too. There were subjects considered too manly for ladies. I’m not talking about the 20th or 21st century, but earlier when wit was the way we entertained ourselves in society; it was how we conducted business, and, of course, it was how we demonstrated our ability to lead others with our sophistication. People were admired and respected for their ability to use their wit and charm.
An odd way to start a training blog, but it seemed apropos, considering the topic. Today is filled with opportunities to reach a lot of people quickly through such obvious sources as twitter and other social/professional media. Some bloggers are quite witty. Some trainers, speakers and writers make a living using their wit. Stand-up comics and actors, it would seem to be a logical extension of those marked abilities–if they were particularly well known.
We do it all the time. We have moved away from the formal in many ways of doing business or conducting training. Tutoring is coaching, and you could assume a good tutor must also be able to charm as well as educate. We know the value of engaging an audience and generally this is one of the ways, probably the most used way of ingratiating ourselves with a client.
I wonder if we are doing ourselves any favors by focusing on the wit, rather than substance. Better yet, should we grow the “wit” to extend into longer expressions and discussions. We do it some. Substitute wit and charm to engage our audience and it’s there. Some bloggers do it. Short blogs don’t have much opportunity for a lot or wit or information; while longer ones can become short essays or commentary. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. I hope I fit into the latter category, or else my blogs are just too long for no purpose.
As a teacher, I am concerned we are creating a society that will be able to engage in short bursts of wit as we are bound to use in Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn so important is it to get out message in. Or, is message volume and repetition more important than information focused on our target market? Are other people–just because they are in the same circle as us really customers. There’s nothing I hate more than an e-mail from a “friend” I’ve never met because we have this special connection that is nothing more than a sales pitch. Had this person asked for advice or suggested a connection, I might have listened instead of hitting the delete key. I expect I’ll hear from social marketers on this one, but I’d rather hear what they have to say before they try to sell me on the advantages of what they know, which I don’t, and waste my time and theirs. So, for me volume and repetition causes me to ignore or dislike intensely the product being offered–maybe even the entire range of product or services to include all other vendors.
So, what’s the answer. Maybe it is time for subtle. That’s what was so charming and engaging about wit: it was subtle. Maybe we do more of the living, more of the being who we say we are in so many characters (140 in Twitter), write things that do more than market. Sell yourself through your wit, sell your product or service in a more subtle way by being charming and helpful to others less successful, rather than a full market press. Could this be the new, unthinkable road to success in this world of sound bytes and flash cards like twitter?
You tell me. Your comments are appreciated and posted if subtle and appropriate. They don’t have to be witty. My website is also yours to peruse should you have any curiosity about other subjects I take on. My background as a professional actor, trainer, speaker, and performance critic give me an unusual perspective sometimes. My Cave Man Guide to Training and Development, available through most eBook retailers, especially Smashwords, I’m practically giving it away. Smashwords is one of the many sites where you can write and publish your wit easily and with minimal cost. Now available through Amazon: my novel, Harry’s Reality, is about what happens when the world stops talking to one another and allows the devices take over to make “acceptable and positive” connections.
For more resources about training, see the Training library.