Spell M-A-N!

13 Jul

“Let’s go round the table and introduce ourselves”.

Oh isn’t this always a really interesting part of any project kick-off meeting?

Personally I get a bit nervous at this point and start writing notes; usually I’m still trying to work out what I do and how I fit in, sometimes what my workname is if I’ve had a particularly early start with the children (married/maiden/mum, it can get confusing),  so i just say something mildly funny and pass to the person sitting next to me. There are those that are specific and straight to the point “I am going to deliver X for this project” – concise, relevant. Some give a little bit more detail, but then there are those that launch into full-on self sales mode. How much they made for their last employer, how many people they have working for them, how big their package is, their golf handicap, that type of thing.  It’s like a luminescent confidence light-show in a drab meeting room with luke warm coffee. And these self-proclaimed work-Jehovas seem to be the only ones not a bit embarrassed by it, not thinking it’s a little over the top. I’m always half expecting them to leap frog over their swivel chair onto the meeting desk and start doing pelvic thrusts to Bo Diddley’s I’m a man  “Spell M-A-N”.

Or is it me that’s missing a trick here? It’s that difficult line between the confident, the not-so-confident and the scarily self-assured. Like at school when you came out of an exam and there was “A-grade Annie” bleating on about how badly she’d done, while “Ego-Eric” was already patting himself on the back for coming top of the class.  Of course Eric always failed miserably, while Annie went to Oxford.

None of this ever equates to any real ability. In fact the cleverest in business are never at the top.  The ones with the biggest balls are. As my dad used to say “It’s all margeding”.

Truth is, you might be able to sell £200 pet insurance to a nervous goldfish breeder, but doesn’t mean you can sell yourself to the e-enablement project team.  If you’re no good at selling yourself, they’ll just have you taking the minutes again, while Gerald demonstrates his finely tuned lambada.

6 Responses to “Spell M-A-N!”

  1. mothersalwaysright July 13, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    Wise words indeed. But it’s also important to remember that those who are good at shouting about how “great” they are also have to back all the hot air up at some point. No matter how good you may be at selling yourself, ultimately, if you’re crap your job you’ll get found out sooner or later. I think it’s good to be confident, but there’s a lot to be said of quiet self-assurance. It also wins you more friends in the long run, which helps in the industry I work in!

    • marketingtomilk July 13, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

      I think some people get by by letting other people do the work, and being good at the talking bit.

  2. kelloggsville July 13, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    Generally, the only meetings I have to do this in are those stuffed to the gills with managers trying to search for the guilty and punish the innocent (it’s an IT post-fault/service analysis thing). So I generally introduce myself with as many acrynyms as I can force into one sentance in order to throw them of the scent 🙂 Anything that basically implies ‘look I’m seriously technical and you would have no idea about anything I do’. Not very helpful I know ,but it sits perfectly in the technical knowledge war that it the male geek one upmanship that rules the environment I work in. Hate it.

  3. Julia July 14, 2011 at 7:40 am #

    Nerves quite often get to me in these situations too. I’m always cross with myself when I forget to tell the one thing that would really get me some extra brownie points!

  4. Gary @ baby shoes July 15, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    Always amazed me how those who can talk the hind legs off of a donkey seem to land the top jobs regardless of what they actually achieve!

  5. Muddling Along July 19, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    I’m struggling with this at work at the moment – I don’t seem to be able to get people to see what I’m doing whereas some of the chaps seem to get credit for doing far less

    And I hate those go-arounds – they always seem to kick off with me and then I worry about how much to say and end up with some feeble attempt at an icebreaker

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