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Is the Sh*t Sandwich Worth it?
Stop Trying to Kiss People!!
Networking or Spamming?
Think your brand new networking connection wants t...
Woman typing on keyboard Think your brand new networking connection wants to hear all about you? They might not. The key to actually CONNECTING with someone, is to offer value (or BUSINESS) FIRST - NOT to reach out to someone for a connection, only to immediately send them a message asking them to send YOU business. Just no. Stop it. That is NOT networking. That is spamming. In Canada, we have the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) which is intended to prevent unsolicited contact in order to sell your business to someone who hasn't asked about it, or you. While LinkedIn doesn't violate CASL in any way (and is pretty much the only 'legal' way to send unsolicited email), it does provided a wonderful vehicle for business people of all types to connect, share, and find business solutions. It's also ripe for people who think random connections will garner actual business (among many other social media platforms too, including sending unsolicited emails via one's website). Introducing yourself and connecting with others is one thing. Sending them messages all about you and your business, and asking people to set up a call so you can tell them all about yourself is quite another. If you weren't certain, it feels smarmy. You know - like a used car salesman? Yah. That. As a wedding planner, I'm generally seen as a centre of influence. However, what you may not know about the industry and my role within it, is that many couples these days actually enjoy and prefer the planning process on their own. That means I get calls about three or four months in advance of their wedding asking me to assist them across the finish line. At this point, most couples have already secured all of their wedding suppliers and no, I'm sorry, I can't provide you with a referral to a couple this late in the game. If we haven't met, chances are I am not familiar with your work (even if you send me links and pictures etc.), so I will simply not be sending my clients to anyone I haven't had a personal experience with. It's just not how I do business. My clients trust me, and if we haven't worked together previously, or haven't even met, I generally just don't recommend random people to my clients just because they tell me how awesome they are. In more than ten years in business, I can say that while I do receive many referrals from colleagues and previous clients, my inbox is filled FAR more with random wedding industry people asking me to send them business. Rarely, if ever, do people ask to meet me so they can find out about what I do, so that they can send ME a referral. Such a shame really, because chances are I'd jump through hoops to work with someone that actually understands that serving others goes a lot farther than always asking for business first. So, next time you think you might do a little 'marketing' by sending emails to people you don't know hoping they'll buy your products or services, or will send you clients, you might want to consider if you're serving THEM or YOURSELF. If you're not serving others, try a different approach instead and see if that builds your business referrals, connections, and relationships faster.
Creative Freedom
Canada – Tall Poppies or Wallflowers
I read an excellent article the other day about ou...

Tr&Ru24I read an excellent article the other day about our new PM’s wife - Sofie Gregoire Trudeau. The topic discussed whether she needed an nanny in order to maintain all of her unpaid requests to speak and represent charities etc. Read it here.

The author made an interesting note about how we as Canadians, tend to cut our ‘tall poppies’ down a notch - which is in stark comparison to our U.S. neighbours whom tend to celebrate and idolize their tall poppies.

All of this got me to thinking… and it’s not the first time I’ve had this conversation, but it seemed to suggest the reason why Canada doesn’t seem to have any ‘shining stars’, so to speak.

It’s not that we don’t have great talent - we DO! But our talent tends to leave, heading southward. Think about our actor and singers - most of whom reside in the U.S.

Years ago when I spent much of my time as an actor in auditions and shooting commercials in Toronto, the goal was always to get to L.A. We all knew it. It’s THE place to be if you want to ‘break in’.

The funny thing is that due to our lower dollar and amazing tax breaks, shooting here in Canada was always the best option for U.S. production companies. The problem was that talent wasn’t being booked here. Stars weren’t being ‘made’ here. They were being ‘made’ THERE.

Fast forward a decade or so, and now I’m a wedding planner. Having amazing colleagues and friends at the top industry affords me the ability to discuss more than just weddings with them.

We talk about business strategies, clientele, publicity, social media trends, and quite honestly, how to keep making money to feed our passion, because let’s face it - none of us is getting rich simply by planning weddings. We’re all hustling in some way or another to expand our income within the industry.

It seems we just don’t have the same kind of opportunities to shine that our southern neighbours do. Is it because there’s less disposable income in Canada? I don’t think so. Is it that we are just more ‘frugal’? I don’t think that’s it either.

When it comes time for seminar and conferences, whom do we bring in to ‘wow’ us? Sadly, it tends to be tall poppies from the U.S. And yet, there’s something missing because they don’t seem to ‘get’ us as Canadians.

So where are all OUR Canadian Stars? Our Tall Poppies? It seems we don’t really have any. Again - it’s not because we aren’t talented. In fact, when I look around, we have some of the greatest talent I’ve seen. Definitely comparable to any top event specialist I’ve seen worldwide.

It seems however, that all OUR Tall Poppies are people I know! The ones quietly winning Canadian Awards, the ones gracing our Canadian Magazines and blogs, the ones doing incredible luxury floral and cake installations and taking outstanding photographs. These are all people I know!

If these people are in fact our Tall Poppies, why aren’t their names in lights? Is it because as Canadians we’re not ‘into’ stardom? We’re not particular star struck as a nation - which is perhaps why the stars love to come to our country because we don’t tend to care much and usually leave them alone to enjoy their meal in peace.

Is it because we’re just really nice people, and everyone is our friend and we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings? Maybe.

Or is it because we just don’t really appreciate anyone that’s too big on themselves… the ‘tall poppies’. We tend to cut our tall poppies off at the knees. We like ‘togetherness’. Maybe at the risk of not having ANY ‘stars’.

All of this begs the question - are we hurting or helping ourselves by doing this? Sure, we all ‘get along’, but the world doesn’t know our names. People are not beating a path to our Canadian door to get a glimpse of our talent. Oprah is not calling on us to plan her fabulous fetes. We have to go elsewhere to be 'seen'. Other countries are quite happy to import us into their national culture and use our talent in exchange for noted success.

On one level, I love that we are an unruffled nation. Quietly doing amazing work, shining amongst ourselves, sharing, growing, being excellent together. Side by side. It is our way.

But the other part of me longs to see our cream of the crop be acknowledged on a global scale. Will we ever do this? Or will our Canadian-ness keep us from the spotlight - intentionally? And preferably?

I’m just not sure… if we want it. Or need it. Or even care…

What do YOU think? Way off base? Bang on? Or somewhere in the middle?

How to Lose Friends
Hold the Space for Greatness
Social Media No-No: Look at ME!
Networking Know-How for Professionals
Constructive Criticism