My wife and I are currently on a longish trip about the country. We deposited our eldest children with family and then zoomed off with the youngest, who is still well in his infancy. As we travel, I’ve noticed that it is extremely easy to strike up conversations with complete strangers due to the baby. Having a baby with you is the ultimate ice-breaker. The baby will smile at a stranger, the stranger, caught off-guard, will smile back. The baby continues to smile. The stranger will say something, such as, “You have a nice baby,” or “That’s a baby,” or “Where did you get that baby?”
A thought struck me due to all this interpersonal relating: people in business who constantly need to meet new people and forge quick relationships, whether in marketing or sales or consulting, should bring babies in order to speed up and smooth their networking. Like briefcases and laptops, babies should become tools of the trade.
If you’re Smith and you’re the VP of Schmoozing-and-Sales and you have to make a presentation for a Fortune 500 client, perhaps in front of twenty-three Wharton grads dressed in grey flannel suits, you shouldn’t be sweating the anticipation. Simply bring a baby with you. Set up your presentation, wave the laser pointer around to get limbered up, and then bring out the baby as the conference rooms fills up. I guarantee that the meeting will go extremely well.
“Ah, that’s a fine baby you have there,” the client SVP of New Product Development will say.
“Yes, he is,” you say, as you click up the slide detailing how the client will have to pay your company fifty million dollars.
“My teenage son was once a baby,” says someone else at the conference table.
“Like this one,” you say, indicating the baby you’ve brought with you.
Before you know it, the contract will be signed and you’ll probably get a great bonus at year’s end. All because of the baby (which you probably borrowed from Carstairs in Accounting). It just goes to show that you shouldn’t discount people just because of their size and lack of education and the fact that they just drooled all over your tie.