As part of a class I teach on the effective use of LinkedIn, I ask the audience to pass a ball of yarn around the room from person to person. The rules are simple…they must only pass the ball to someone they know, like and trust and they must hold on to a length of the yarn before they pass it along, thus creating a web of connected individuals. I use this activity to demonstrate that there are these “invisible connections” all around us, and that LinkedIn makes it easy to make those connections visible so that we might make use of them. As I wrapped up one such session with the Clemson University School of Business and Behavioral Sciences last week, I began to think about some of the OTHER invisible connections that exist and what lessons we might find by identifying and exploring them. As a self-proclaimed movie nut, I immediately started to think about what we might find if we dug in to some of the most famous quotes in movie history and applied them to our work helping Chambers and Associations grow their membership sustainably. Ready to have some fun? LET’S GO!
- “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse“ (Marlon Brando in The Godfather): When it comes to bringing in new members, you might not want to look at Vito Corleone as your role model, but we CAN learn a few things from this quote. Making your prospects an offer they can’t refuse means KNOWING what your prospect is searching for and finding ways to match your services to their needs. You can be mighty persuasive when you’re the “only game in town” that can solve a business-owner’s biggest challenge.
- “Houston, we have a problem.” (Tom Hanks in Apollo 13): Guess what! Problems are going to pop up now and then. Keeping them to yourself is rarely the way to go. Talk to “Ground Control” and let them help you. You have smart people all around you…learn to rely on them.
- “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.“ (Strother Martin in Cool Hand Luke): Take a look at nearly every challenge you have and I’d be willing to bet you can find a “failure to communicate” exacerbating (if not outright CREATING) the problem. We all know that Chamber and Association work can be brutal…but if we’ll stop and assess the situation before reacting, then apply a communications solution, we’ll almost always be better off.
- “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.“ (Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs): OK…fine! There’s probably not much that can be learned here except maybe to stay as FAR away as possible from some folks, but it’s my favorite quote of all time and there was no way I was leaving it out. SUE ME!
- “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” (Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society): How many people can say that the work they do every day is helping to make the lives of hundreds and thousands of other people in their neighborhood extraordinary? That’s what we do! We go out there day after day, sometimes in the face of great adversity, and strive to make our communities better for those we serve. Seize the day, Chamber professional! Carpe Diem!
- “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” (Roy Scheider in Jaws): If you want to go after the “big fish”…if you want to do big things…you’re going to need the right tools. Utilize your Board to make those big “asks”, whether for memberships, sponsorships or political leverage. Match up the job with the right person to DO the job and you’ll have far greater success. BONUS INSIGHT: Keep doing all the right things, and you’ll need a “bigger boat” to carry all the new engaged members you’re going to have!
So there you have it! There are HUNDREDS of quotes I’d have loved to use, but “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
“Here’s looking at you, kid.”
“May the Force be with you.”