It happens all the time. To write an article about an important initiative, I’ve trudged through reports, emails and PowerPoint slides. I’ve talked on the phone to the project leader, who’s quickly reeled off the usual phrases about synergies and scalability, clouds and key metrics.
I get the basic idea, but something is missing. Oh right, the excitement. And somehow I don’t think I’ve connected all the dots.
Then I meet the new guy in IT. He’s a little shy, but I can tell that he’s thrilled that people are taking an interest in the project he’s quietly worked on. I suspect he has combed his hair.
After some friendly chat about his job, he relaxes. Then he talks. And talks and talks. I furiously tap away on my laptop. This stuff is dynamite
When I don’t understand, he doesn’t mind explaining. Sometimes he draws diagrams.
I feel his pride in what he’s accomplished. I sense his satisfaction with coming up with a way to make life easier for other employees or clients or whoever he’s helping. I add him to my Christmas card list.
The IT guy is engaged, that elusive quality that so many organizations pursue. He’ll stay up all night if he’s on a roll. He’ll bore his significant others to tears with his endless talk about the BIG project. He’ll look shocked and insist he was only doing his job when he wins the best employee award.
Better still, he’ll infect other people. They will listen to his unpolished presentations and read the article I’ve written. Though still cautious, they’ll agree to give it a shot. If the change is half as good as he thinks, they’ll catch his enthusiasm.
Viral people don’t just come from IT. They can come accounting, engineering, human resources and anywhere that expertise and enthusiasm can be combined. Though they can be superstars, they’re often found in the corporate mosh pit.
They may be seized by nerd wordiness when they write. They may clam up in front of a video camera.
So it’s up to professional communicators to carry their infectious expertise and enthusiasm. That’s one of the best parts of my job. Yours too?