This week, I found myself sitting in the middle of a two-day long global introduction and planning session. Key figures all across the board. The purpose of the meeting was essentially to solve problems and come to an agreeable solution – one that would work for everyone. Presentations would go on and then conversation throughout the middle of them and then we’d do it all again. Lots of languages. Accents that were both intimidating and invigorating. It was an open and free flowing atmosphere, particularly given the objective of the meeting. It was actually surprisingly great. I was happy in so many ways to be a part of it.
Yes, there were some excellent points raised that no one had considered and there were some equally excellent solutions that came about real-time. But the best thing about it to me was – despite all of the cultural differences, the accents, the nomenclature, the overt and underhanded jokes, there were many more commonalities – bright, creative thinking, respect, openness, love of coffee and/or tea to name a few. But the biggest of all were the smiles.
The simple act of smiling.
I found myself at one time during the meeting just looking around the table looking at everyone smiling. And actually, I have to say, there were some really great smiles. It made me smile. Big.
Then, it got me thinking. About content and engaging with people and being interesting and coming up with whatever creative solutions we can come up with to make someone stop and take notice of this content or that content and do something with it. I instantly stripped everything down its core and thought about the smile.
Maybe many of our troubles as it relates to the “silver bullet” (as if there is one) of content, in or out of the home, gets down to that one simple, shared expression.
So, I’m going to give it a try. I’m going to begin a briefing with, “what makes you smile?” And then apply it to whatever problem we’re trying to solve. Who knows if it will work. Coke has shown us (via Open Happiness) that it is a great foundation to strengthen a huge brand. But will it work for everyone/everything?
I do know this – if you’re looking for a theme, a through-line that will connect with people, regardless of where they are in the world, look no further than simple human commonalities. And maybe begin with the smile.