So here’s a continuation of the “Kicked that Room’s Ass” blog series! This series discusses the many things I learned from Stephanie Palmer’s “Good in a Room”. For those of you who missed the first installment, “Good in a Room” gives you the lay of the Hollywood landscape as Mrs. Palmer takes you into the minds of Hollywood and business execs and helps to you not only put them at ease and form a genuine connection with you, but also to potentially wow them with your self-presentation and your ideas.
One major note: My definition of success at the moment is “having a good meeting”. I was traveling with a group of students when I had these experiences so no one was actually *pitching* their ideas. In truth, we were pitching ourselves. My indication of the meeting being a success was whether or not I was able to draw the exec’s attention (in a good way) and develop a good in-meeting rapport. So take this into account!
Anyways, let’s get it on! Here’s the second MAJOR thing I learned about talking to execs in Hollywood:
2. It’s not really about you. Even when it *is* about you (and your pitch), it’s not about you. And you want it that way. (Good in a Room, Chapter 23: Dumb is the New Smart)
This goes back to the earlier post on “outward focus”. In other words, find out what the exec is interested in, what he needs, what his priorities are. Ask meaningful questions about him and his needs, not how he is going to best serve you. ALSO, don’t try to complete the exec’s sentences, show off your knowledge (even if you are a whiz at acting/writing/post-production stuff, etc), and never say “I KNOW” (because you really don’t know ’til you’ve been there, trust me!).
All this will help you with any meeting you have on your plate because:
- The exec will believe (and rightfully so) that you are concerned not only with your own success, but with his success and that of the company as well.
- Nothing in Hollywood gets done without a team, and so one of the keys to being regarded highly in Hollywood is to be a team player. Team players are about the team, not only about themselves.
- Focusing on “making an impression” puts a lot of pressure on only one individual: YOU. Take that pressure off by asking questions, being receptive, and coaxing “collaboration” into the conversation. Make it a learning session where two people are forming a connection, rather than a selling session, where only you are giving and the other is receiving.
So please. Don’t be like the guy in the pic above! ::side eye::
Again, meeting an exec isn’t always about knocking his socks off, it’s about being smart, curious, willing to help, and being an absolute pleasure to spend time with. So be yourself, keep asking questions, and use your meeting as a learning experience. Dumb is the new smart, because “being dumb” helps you to realize that it’s not about YOU.
So what about you? Have you ever been in a situation (professional or personal) where “being curious” rather than being the “hot shot” worked well? Share your experiences below!
Stay tuned for future posts, and as always:
Keep it indie,