Someone one TV the other day called me an expert in communication. Funny that…as an expert I’m still trying to work out how to talk to a princess.
Imagine this …all my life I have wanted to be a princess. I love the Royal Family, watch and read all I can about them, dress up in taffeta because that’s what true princesses wear (even my footy tipping name is Pink taffeta) so when my husband offered me the chance to meet Kate and Wills, my life was going to be perfect.
It all sounds nice in theory, until you start considering exactly what the opportunity means.
I feel like I am preparing for my first date, my first new client interaction, or meeting my daughters boyfriend for the first time ….the preparation goes something like this!
What am I going to wear? How will I do my hair? What will we talk about?
So it’s the night before and I am frantically thinking about how to communicate to a Princess. It’s no longer just words… it’s everything! What struck me though as I paced the house, is princess or no princess, some of the principles I was thinking through apply no matter what important interaction you are involved in… networking, job interview, blind date or meeting a princess!
Don’t blow it –I have to make sure that I give enough for them to be interested in me but not too much that they ask their minders to take me away and remove me from Parliament House.
Do I make a sign? – What do I put on the sign “Welcome Wills and Kate”? That’s a bit boring maybe it should say “Royalty rocks” That engaging first part is the opening to your communication and how you grab their attention – without it screaming “crazy stalker”!
Touching – To touch or not to touch, to bow, curtsey, rub shoulders?. The hug, the handshake, and what about a kiss? Anyone up for that? What is appropriate for the situation?
Attire – What is appropriate for the situation I am walking into!? Something I have to make sure of is I’m not wearing the same outfit as Kate..see… pressure already. I have packed 2 dresses, so will have my twitter account open and as soon as she arrives there will be a picture uploaded. This will enable me to be one step ahead. I simply step into the dress she is not wearing (they call that preparation – the key to success!).
Time to talk – OK so it’s time to open my mouth and tall. The first thing I have to do is say is “Hi”… but Hi can be said so many ways (should it be hi, hey, hi there, hey you, Hello, Good morning, morning or yo!?)
This “Hi” bit sets the tone and the scene for the entire interaction so it has to be the right “hi”..said in the right way, with the right tone.
Using Kate’s name: – Normally I would say it’s extremely important to use someone’s name when greeting them. I love applying these principles. So what do I call Kate? Is it Kate, Kath, Katherine, The Duchess, or does she have a nickname that she prefers? Maybe silence is the key. Let her introduce herself to me!
Research – Having done my research and checked, re checked and checked again I have been told that no matter what, you must compliment their shoes.. OK that should be easy?
Wow they are really nice shoes?, I love that shoe colour on your feet? Great heal? , Gorgeous pattern?.. Perhaps this approach may need further work before I blurt anything out about her footwear look.
You think the shoe comment is a tough one to work out, well what about the whole eating with Royalty part. If they stop eating, you stop eating. FULL STOP.
Research is extremely important when meeting anyone, knowledge is power and if you know something about them, the communication is less likely to go wrong. The things you know about them will enhance your interaction.
Questions – What question would I ask Kate first? This is really important to consider before blurting out a bad question. Have your first question best question ready to get the conversation started. I need to make the question about her and make it one that’s easy to answer..
I may never get to meet royalty again. Just like you may never be invited back to your clients again, so do the very best communication job you can do. As the saying goes “ you only get once chance at making a good first impression.” Who knows – I might get an invite to the palace!!
Stay tuned for tomorrows wrap up. The photos, the dress and how my interaction with Kate and Wills went!