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Mastering the Art of the Flirt

Flirt Many, MANY years ago (before kids... before wife... barely into adulthood), I was shopping with my sister-in-law.  We had gone into a men's clothing store, and I was looking around.  The clerk was helping us out, and I remember her being very friendly.  As we left the store, my sister-in-law turned to me and stated: "Wow, I can't believe she didn't propose to you right then and there."

"Huh?" (The typical male response in clueless state.)

"She was completely and totally flirting with you."

"Really?  Cool."  (End of conversation.  Acknowledged with a slight puff of ego.)

If you are going to brand your accomplishments, you're going to have to ENGAGE those who will benefit from your accomplishments (or potentially benefit from them).  To engage them effectively, you're going to need to master the art of the flirt.  While flirting gets a bad reputation for being superficial or lacking serious intent, it does do the one thing you want it to do:  builds curiosity.

To be engaging, you want to draw attention.  That's where being noticeable helps.  But being noticed isn't enough.  You have to create that spark of curiosity.  That sly smile and quick wink that says, "I have something you want."

As a project manager, I encourage other PM's to master flirting in their communication.  You can't barf every piece of information you know on the page and expect people to read it, let alone want more.  If your accomplishments are going to engage others, you need to flirt with their brains to build their curiosity and draw them in.

Look at the next two paragraphs

The testing report was not completed yet again this week because Fred forgot to talk to the IT team lead, who had most of the detail surrounding the report since December, but refuses to discuss it with any of our team because of office politics.  Anyway, after our project sponsor forced the IT team to comply, he called Fred to set up a meeting last Tuesday at 3:30 PM in Room 702 of the East Campus Building.  Fred was called away by his wife to attend their son’s school program (which Fred had also forgotten to make note of), and when he left to go to the program, he neglected to mention anything about the meeting.  So it is now three months since the requirements were completed by IT, and our team still does not have the testing report complete.  Our sponsor will be discussing Fred’s dropped balls with him next week, and this will probably appear in his performance evaluation (at least it had better)
The testing report is not complete.  We are now three months behind schedule on this deliverable (originally due 12-28).  Fred is accountable for this deliverable.

Which one would you rather read in a status report?  They both essentially say the same thing.  But which one does a better job of flirting with your brain, building your curiosity, giving you just the critical facts while engaging you to ask for more?  (The first one just makes my eyes glaze over, and I'm the one who wrote it for sake of example.)

So if your accomplishments and going to be branded effectively, can you master the art of the flirt?  Can you invite your audience into your accomplishments and leave them wanting more?

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