Recently, I was enthusiastically telling a potential client that our software is the best thing since sliced bread and our team is simply amazing. We were in a web meeting and things were going very well until stinky feet happened. I don't mean something generically bad. I mean feet, two of them, ten digits, bare.
Before a demo, I diligently quit applications that may interfere with it. Discretion is a huge part of delivering a good impression. Don’t say too much. Listen carefully. Lead the client to where you want them to head, in the way you want to. And definitely do not show them anything they don't need to see. It’s super planned and rehearsed. Nothing can go wrong with the pitch.
I went through my pre-meeting rituals in the usual way. I began by restarting my laptop and making sure the wireless connection was intact. Then I quit Chrome so hangout messages would not sneak up on me. I quit Gmail, Word, and Stickies to avoid any surprises as I switched between apps. At the very last minute, I saw an iMessage window lurking behind the slide deck. In a rush, I simply closed it, instead of quitting out of it.
That right there was an epic fail. The price was stinky feet.
About 30 mins into my pitch, Josh sent a picture showcasing his culinary skills. It came and went quickly and made my stomach growl. I couldn't stop to quit iMessage so I barreled on like an ostrich with her head in the sand. Little did I realize that the brother and sister-in-law were alert and ready to text in the middle of a work day.
With true sibling love, Neil and Humera took off on the brief image of Josh's feet on the edge of the picture (edited out for our sanity).
It started with a bomb: "Stinky feet!"
And quickly deteriorated into a hailstorm of uproarious stupidity, all of it flashing fast-and-furious on the corner of my screen. While my kids were having a blast, I was frantic.
I went into ugh-omg-wtf mode, while still attempting to form coherent sentences. I feverishly pointed my mouse away from the possessed corner, hoping to distract the audience with earnest talk about our product. In the back of my mind I knew their attention was elsewhere!
High on adrenaline and driving the demo with my right hand, I whipped out my phone with the left hand and told the bozos to shut up. It went something like: "Stop webex screen". Thank goodness they are quick on the uptake and occasionally listen to me. They went into radio silence.
After the demo ended, I slapped myself for forgetting to quit, quit, quit!!!
Then I revived our iMessage thread and Josh irreverently asked what the potential client thought of his stinky feet, followed by more silliness. Regardless of what happens with this deal, I will find that little stinker and slobber him with kisses, which is the only revenge that will give me adequate satisfaction.