Jun 24, 2009

Why we are the way we are??

"Where are we publicising today evening??", my friend asked me swiping the sweat off his forehead. It was 2 30 PM on a bright sunny sunday and we were standing in Artesia ( the Indian street in Orange county,California) to distribute fliers for the forthcoming Awareness walk event for CRY( Child rights and You).We had over 1000 such fliers to distribute and we were only 3 in number to handle those.Our publicty campaign had to intensify as the event date was nearing. Hence we had decided to cover 2 locations each weekend to accelerate the public reach and awareness.That evening, we were targeting the University of California campus at Los Angeles.There was this Desi musical event which would normally attract a huge Indian crowd and hence a good opportunity for publicity.
Flyer distributors like us are considered as one of the nuisances in public gatherings like this.We are next to autograph hunters, in surrounding people and hunt them down until we stuff our fliers.Three of us took positions at three different entranc
es and chased our targets. Now we had to clearly segment our targets based on the probabilty of our fliers being directed to dustbins (yea..people do that..) or handbags. Over 60% of the crowd that turns out to such social events are from upscale strata .The stakes were high as any potential donor will donate BIG! Our process of distributing the flier to a potential donor starts atleast 10 seconds before the actual flyer distribution takes place. We start observing the family members to identify the 'approachable' ! Once Identifying the 'approaceable', we pitch our flyer,Event, CRY organization and urge to donate. we typically end with this punch line "please joins us with friends and family" while thrusting the flyer in the hands....All this happens in the time gap of encountering the 'approachable' and the act of giving the flyer, which would be under 10 seconds.

We encountered people with different attitudes towards the flyer and the CRY event itself , from flamboyant men and pompous women who jus take the flyers and throw it in the dustbin right in front of us,from people who did not believe in such fundraising organizations (they were at least courteous enough to not take the flyer,considering the wastage it will result in), from courteous people who collected the flyer and acknowledged our presence without questions ,to those blessed souls who actually showed interest in knowing more about the event and the organization.Such blessed souls more than often end up in volunteering for CRY or pull more donors for CRY ( Chain marketing type!) It took us 20 to 25 mins to exhaust the bunch of fliers to distribute.

Distributing fliers has taught me some important lessons in life,

People are as different as they can possibly be. We got to see some characters which I never believed to have existed (like the one throwing the flyer in dustbin,after a couple of sentences of ridicule on CRY). You gotta come out and try meeting all types of people coz life is too short to actually meet all of them.

Never take success to your head as you grow,coz one day it will instill arrogance in you which you will never realize. Success is momentary and life is a journey.One should enjoy the success and move on in search of the next one wihtout letting your success in past affecting you (negatively atleast) on your pursuit of next success.In short, have a level head on your shoulders.

This excercise has given me enormous amounts of training in patience as at times, behaviour of these arrogant bunch of people can drive you crazy. If you can handle them successfully,you can handle anyone and anything on earth!

You are what you think. Honestly, almost all who came to that 'cultural gathering' have shelled out more than a couple of hundred bucks to spend a 3 hour evening in Bollywood music,which only means that almost all of them are more than capable of donating a small amount.However, you really have to have that mind to donate ( Although there are still a small percentage of people who do not donate for some genuine reasons).

The success rate in flyer distribution is extremely low. Your success rate will be 1 or 2% which means you might invoke interest in 1 or 2 folks out of every 100 persons you meet and distribute the flyer.However, if that 1 or 2% who show interest are genuine, both interms of donating as well as volunteering, you can feel the sense of achievement, after all that was what we were looking for.

I retuned back after a long day, recalling the various characters I had met all through the day and reflecting on my thoughts and impressions on them….certainly, many more lessons to be learnt….Am still working on it :)

Jun 19, 2009

So....How do you find Dubai??!! ;)

I was at the water dispenser to fill up my water bottle.I had rushedout of a very boring Macroeconomics class to have break for few mins before getting back.And I see a good looking senior girl filling up water next to me...Her bottle was a 2 litre one and it obvsly had to take atleast 60 seconds to fill up!......Now my mind went back to the communications class we had where we were taught about "elevator pitch" (yea...u had to sell urself in 30 seconds)...I realised that this was an ideal chance to test that out.....Now what do i Do??? To sound cool and chilled out.I ask her

"You are from the senior batch right ??"
(obvsly she has to be u dumbo...If shes not in ur class.she has to bein senior class!)
She replies " Yeah..." (somehow I felt she increased the tap speed---indirectly wanted to finish her bottle filling excercise quickly :)
"Which stream..IT or Finance??"
(what a loser you are....)
"IT.....and you?"
(For a moment she sounded interesting"
"I am from IT too......so How do you find Dubai???"
(this is where I felt I had an upper hand,coz these seniors moved from Singapore and we,the juniors started from Dubai. Effectively, we were 2 or 3 months in dubai before these seniors. I threw this question in an attempt to build on it with my 3 month knowledge on Dubai)
You should have seen my reaction on her response
she says " Oh I have been here for my life!"
(Bussssssssssssssss...That was my show off deflating :P )
I had to reply back " Oops!.wrong qstn to the wrong person........(andI smile like an Idiot) "
She smiles " How do u find dubai?!"
I go "Hot,hotter and hottest :)"
Lesson 1: Murphy's law always works
Lesson 2: when any doubts,refer lesson 1 !! :)