PR people are great. They always have their audience in mind, even when it’s an audience of one. Last week I met someone who reminded me of this impressive trait that many PR people have in common. It made me proud to be one of them, and happy to be a dad.
I was recently at a networking event in advance of a big awards ceremony for people in my industry. Some people hate these things, but I love them. It’s a chance for insta-socializing, and there’s a lot to learn from everyone in the room. As I was mingling with some new people I’d met in the elevator moments before, one of them came up to me and asked how old my kids were. This surprised me as we hadn’t talked about kids at all. In fact, we’d spent a mere 30 seconds together, so I assumed either he knew me or that I’d let something slip out about my family that I hadn’t remembered.
“I have 3 kids. Thanks for asking. I’m curious…how did you know I had kids?” His response was both hilarious and slightly humiliating…but in the best way.
“I assumed the slobber mark over your left shoulder is from a kid who fell asleep on your shoulder. Either that or you’ve got a really interesting story about it. Wear it with pride, brother!” His comment was a sign of solidarity….and an elegant signal to me that I may want to run to the restroom and wipe away the tell-tale sign of my daughter’s drooly nap from the previous Sunday when I’d last worn that suit.
It’s not just a PR person that would take the time to make that comment. Plenty of nice neighbors, concerned parents, or other friendly folk would have done it. But his “wear it with pride” tagline was delivered with such special confidence and purpose that I realized that he knew a lot about me already…just from the badge of fatherhood I was wearing on my shoulder.
It’s great to be a father. It’s great to have someone who wants to fall asleep on your shoulder….and who doesn’t offend you when they slobber all over your suit. And it’s great to be surrounded by people who know how to tell you about it and make it into a point of pride, not a badge of shame.
I cleaned up the spot. But I will always wear it with pride.