My first meeting of 2017 was with Adama Barrow's niece. Who is he and who is she and why am I writing about them?
He is President of the Republic of The Gambia. His inauguration as President took place the day before Donald Trump's. She works in London, building up her own Event Management company.
She and I met to discuss how to ensure that guests at her events meet the people they want to meet. Nothing unusual in that - all my business meetings are about that. The unusual factor, and the one which was so striking, was her humility. I have not yet met her uncle, the President of The Gambia, but in reading his tweets and seeing the photograph above, an apparent family trait emerges: humility. What a contrast to that other President who has taken office in America.
I have learnt - the hard way - that humility matters in a room full of people. But so does confidence. Humility matters because everyone has something to say and it's the job of a Professional Introducer to tease out what it is that the person has to say at that particular occasion and to encapsulate it into layman's language for the introducee to understand in an instant. Humility, in this case, means having patience whilst under a time constraint, to hear and interpret those who might not speak with clarity. Confidence matters because without it, it's impossible for the Introducer to be given authority - on-the-spot - by both parties who must accept that the introduction being made is something they would like to have for the benefit of both of them. Too much humility and the job doesn't get done. Over-confidence gets people's backs up, and the introduction itself is resented.
Shortly before his inauguration we learnt that a State of Emergency had been declared in The Gambia. We learnt that people, including British tourists, were fleeing the country. Can Adama Barrow, apparently with plenty of humility, but who I'm told has no great oratory skills, succeed in holding the country together? Will Donald Trump, without an apparent ounce of humility, get people's backs up so much that he can't hold his country together either.
Make no mistake: the President, CEO, Managing Director or Managing Partner of a company needs to ensure that his/her company's Event, holds together. If attendees are standing around on their own, if there isn't a constant buzz of conversation, of relationships being forged or cemented, that Event is not holding together. If he or she cannot hold the Event together him or herself, it's vital that he appoints someone who can. The person who holds the Event together, is the Introducer, whatever their role or job title on other days of the week may be. Every Event needs an Introducer, whether professional or not, otherwise it's impossible for an Event to hold together.
Confidence and humility in equal measure are an ideal combination for the Introducer to possess. One without the other is not enough. Would any who possess this combination please step forward: the Events sector, and on a wider scale, this country, badly needs you. I'm working to develop both these qualities, just as much, if not more than I am on guest lists and marketing.
Anyone who's read my articles before may well have got my drift already, and will know that I believe a State of Emergency has emerged in all those Events up and down the country where people are not introduced, and that there is little apparent understanding of why it matters, both to those who put on and those who attend events. Soon this courtesy will be extinct, and Britain will be the poorer for it. Already the joy of a person well met has gone out of many of our events. For many of us, attending an event has become a chore. How this has occurred and why is a subject for another article. Pinky Lilani, the Asian Business Woman, seems to be one of the few people in Britain who gets it. She apparently got it from her mother in India (more on Pinky in a subsequent article perhaps).
Back to The Gambia. We learn that President Barrow wants to return The Gambia to the Commonwealth. Britain is exiting the EU. There are a lot of new relationships to be forged, and a lot of business to be done with The Gambia, a lot of introductions to be made, and a lot of work to be done by Adama's niece and myself - with confidence and humility. I wish her and her uncle well.
Rachel Fay is a Professional Introducer connecting people at Conferences, Receptions, Networking Events and Private Parties. You can contact Rachel on 020 8743 1249 firstname.lastname@example.org