I have a banker friend who has an obsession with historical canals in his community. I have no idea why; it doesn’t matter. Another friend, an investment counselor, has a “thing” about the history of cardboard box production. Again,I have no idea why. A financial services client loves to find out all he can about local pubs in his community, dating back to the 17thcentury. That one I can understand, and he has a lot of fun doing the (liquid) research!
Many of us have inexplicable historical interests, and for those of you who are not, officially, involved in history as a scholar or educator, use your obsession as an excuse to present a program at your local historical society or public library! They are always looking for program content, and you will have a new platform from which you can introduce yourself.
•The historical society or library will promote you to new audiences.
•You (and your business) will appear in local media and social networking pages in a new, “human” way – not as a banker trying to promote your bank, for example, but as an interesting person with a quirky historical interest.
•You will meet people at the event in a non-sales environment, and you will win people over by your charm!
•People will think you’re awfully smart because you will show evidence of thorough research and your Powerpoint presentation will be stellar.
•Through your own promotion, you will demonstrate your interest in and support of local history.
We are all looking for new ways to connect with people, and here is a fun and effective way to introduce customers and potential customers to a new and interesting side of you.
And if you don’t have the kind of interest I described above, think about your cultural background. Can you make a presentation on your family’s experience in your town, or your own? I am reminded of a business owner who owns a popular coffee shop in a very historical New England town. He is fairly recently arrived from India, and it’s safe to say he is the only person from India in this town. He has already presented programs on his hometown and country to the great delight of townspeople. His business is “the” place to go, hang out, and be seen. Yes, he is charming and has a wonderful business, but I also believe that his willingness to share his story has won people over.
So…what is your inner historian latched onto?
What stories can you share to introduce yourself to people in a new way?
2010 © Bonnie Hurd Smith
History Smiths works with service-oriented businesses to use history — their own and their community's — to achieve customer loyalty, referrals, and high status. Subscribe (above, right) to our free Ezine, Connections, where we share ideas and examples of businesses embracing history to achieve business goals.