I recently took my son to the birthday party of one of his friends. It was held at an indoor play centre; an arena boasting wreathing ball pits, coiling slides and populated by screaming, jostling children. To my son, the place where dreams are made.
Within minutes of arriving, I watched as a young boy threw himself headfirst into the nearest tunnel, and with it, another child. As tears began to flow, the child took a sweet from his pocket and handed it to the crying boy. The tears ceased and soon they were chasing each other across bridges and up and down padded stairs.
It was obvious the boy had made a new friend, thanks in part to his generous nature. By sharing his sweets, he was sharing a small part of himself with someone who had originally seen him as a stranger.
I chatted with a few of the parents throughout the afternoon. We mostly spoke about the kids, school, football and popular culture. Halfway through the party, I noticed a mother and child sitting nearby, gazing at a tablet. I recognised the boy sitting on his mum’s lap. He was part of the group.
Not wanting them to feel left out, I moved over to talk to them both. While the child continued to play, his mother told me that he was a lovely boy but very shy. He didn’t know how to show people he wanted to play and was hoping that someone would come over and ask. I thought this was a reasonable request.
I relayed the message to the other parents and we endeavoured to intercept our children and encourage them to speak to the boy. He’s really nice, we told them. He’d love to join your games. Naturally, they were eager to escape. They already had kids to play with. The quiet boy was off the radar.
The party continued and the children left exhausted. The boy got up at the end of the party, collected his cake and left without a word. It was as if he had never been there at all.
I’m the kind of person who likes to connect things. I could only think about how the small, quiet, and probably brilliant little boy was like so many businesses I meet.
No matter how good you are at something, or in this case how nice, unless you share with people how will they know? For five-year-olds, this means sweets and friendship. In business, it means valuable, well researched and reasoned content.
Share advice, information, fun facts, personality and even sweets. Do whatever you can to say to the world ‘here we are’.
We are all competing with our rivals for the affections of our target audience. Make sure you are the one who stands out.