Hello, I’m Alan, Nice to See You Here
I happened to hear James Carville on the news this morning. He was my guest not too long ago at one of my events, and it was also his birthday. I ordered Makers Mark bourbon, his favorite, which, inexplicably, the Four Seasons didn’t stock. At one point he was asked why he thought Bill Clinton had so much charm and charisma. His answer astounded me.
He said that Clinton, upon entering a room, would seek out the most uncomfortable, or low level, or unknown people, and immediately engage them in conversation, making them comfortable and accepted by others. I was so struck by that behavior, that I’ve tried to emulate it, however imperfectly, whenever I can.
It’s also prompted me to be weary of people who ask, “Who else will be there?” when invited to attend an event, or who are at the event, and when asked to participate in small group work tend to disappear or resist if they don’t think their team members are significant enough for them.
I believe we have an obligation to give back, not just “take.” I also think that working with and helping others is the best way to learn ourselves. (Hell, that’s been the later part of my career, and I learn more than anyone else at all of my experiences and events.)
I’m also tempted to say when asked, “Who else will be there?” that “I’LL BE THERE, ISN’T THAT SUFFICIENT FOR YOU?!”
If you’re only comfortable with powerful people around you, maybe it’s because you fear you lack power yourself. Or maybe you’re just arrogant.