The dangers of walking your dog…

I don’t know what it’s been like where you are the past few days.
But where I am, the weather’s been lovely.
I made the most of it yesterday and went for a walk.

Going for a walk isn’t as straightforward as it used to be for me.

The dog is no real bother, in fairness to her.
She stood in the porch as soon as the mere suggestion of ‘walkies’ is uttered, and she practically puts her own harness on.

The same can’t be said for me.
I need socks, so my feet don’t burn.
A hat, so my head doesn’t burn.
Enough clothes so I don’t get cold, but not too many layers that I get too hot.

With me suitably dressed, it’s a case of striding out confidently.
I was strutting down the main road – dog in front, coat half-open – enjoying the sunshine, when I noticed another human in the distance walking towards me.
ON THE SAME SIDE OF THE ROAD.
I kicked myself as I realise I’d left my 2-metre wooden ruler at home, but a quick mental calculation told me the pavement wasn’t wide enough for both of us.

I crossed over.
So did he.
It was a disaster.

But as this man closed, I noticed the dog walking in front of him. A labradoodle.
And then, as he got closer still, I noticed his coat half-open…!
As we crossed paths (at a safe distance) we gave each other ‘the nod’.

The result, I felt an instant affinity with this man.

I’m not saying I’d trust him with my pension, but stick him alongside someone with no dog nor a half-open coat, and I know who I’d lean towards.

It’s down to relatability.

I had a call with a client last week when we got onto the topic of weekly emails. They’re an extremely smart bunch, and they’ve got no shortage of technical know-how. But when it came to sending weekly emails, they expressed the same difficulty I come across often: “What do we write about?”

Honestly, it’s impossible to give a one-size-fits-all response. But the closest I can come? Talk about things your audience can relate to.

Most of us like to think we’re pretty unique. But, on the whole, we’re not.

Plenty of your potential customers will have kids, or dogs, or do a ‘big shop’, or have no logical system for deciding if they say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when asked if they want a receipt at the checkout.

You can, of course, still get this wrong.

More than a few years ago, I was sat in on a management meeting at the company I worked for at the time. I really shouldn’t have been there, but my Director had decided to bring me along to give me an insight into the format of the meetings.

Early on, as what I can only imagine was supposed to be an ice breaker, one of the owners stood up and boldly asked: “So, be honest everyone. Show of hands. Who else went to the ballet over the weekend?”

The silence was deafening. A tumbleweed rolled across the boardroom table. And, as you’d have guessed, not one hand went up. It was excruciating.

The lesson?

Pick topics you know are definitely relatable to your audience.