The other day I had a meeting with someone. The meeting went well. He ticked all the boxes … he was articulate, interesting and informed. He was what you’d call a solid guy. As we started wrapping up he gave me his business card (yes, people still do that).
That’s when he blew it.
The card was as flimsy and flighty as a feather. It had no weight, nor authority nor influence. Not only didn’t it have heft but both the logo and text were pixelated. The text was like a dirty, life-worn faded tattoo on an aged, wrinkled arm.
My reaction to the card was primitive and visceral. I was instantly unsure of this person and in that moment cut any notion I may have had of starting a business relationship. There was no logic to it. One minute I was enamoured, the next minute I couldn’t wait to put distance between us.
In that moment a 100 000 year prime directive that pushed Homo sapiens to the top of the food chain kicked in: Survive!
You probably already know that we’re attracted to people who make us feel safe and we avoid people who don’t. No amount of logic can account for it … but that business card triggered my flight and fight response … I felt unsafe.
In a business context I have a similar reaction when a business has a hotmail, Yahoo or gmail email account (my scam radar is activated).
— Or when I ask someone what their website address is and they say, “I don’t have a website right now”.
— Or when I go to a website and the company name is preceded by wix/companyname.com or wordpress/companyname.net.
I feel that maybe they’re not serious enough.
Before you you think I’m being overdramatic stop for a moment and think about the people and organisations that you surround yourself with.
- Do they make you feel safe?
- Do you trust them?
- Do you like them?
Like you, I’m more inclined to align myself to people and organisations that I perceive to be able to protect me, keep me safe and that have my best interests at heart.
Those that help me survive and thrive.
They have weight, substance, power, gravitas and influence.
They have HEFT!
Firefighters have heft and gravitas. They make you feel safe.
The whole business card incident got my creative juices flowing. And, I’ve crafted a Masterclass called HEFT – The Science of Moving People.
It’s being held in Johannesburg on 17 July. Check it out here and see if it resonates with you.