Following the Academy Awards this year, there is plenty that business people can learn from these talented actors. Here are the top nine lessons:
1. Always show resiliency and maintain persistence. David Seidler who won for best original screenplay for “The King's Speech” recalled that, “My father always said to me I'd be a late bloomer." Seidler is the oldest person to win this award. Randy Newman, who has been nominated a total of 20 times for an Academy Award, won his second Oscar. Be patient. In business, most overnight success takes seven to 10 years.
2. Always stay away from industry lingo. I am not sure what Natalie Portman meant when she said “bees knees," but it is better to talk to your customers in phrases they can understand. Leave the technical talk at the office. Kirk Douglas’ “you know” did more to endear him to the audience than anything else other actors said during the evening. Don’t use the F-bomb like Melissa Leo unless it serves a specific purpose. Any business owner has a limited number of these F- bombs to use during his or her career.
3. Always tell a story. This is what Hollywood does best. Prospects also learn the most by hearing a story where they can visualize your company solving their pain. This is why references to anecdotes about other customers for whom your business has solved similar needs are very effective.
4. Always mention your URL for some free publicity. When Christian Bale won for best supporting actor for “The Fighter," he told everyone to check out www.dickeklund.com. How many page views will that site get in the next 24 hours?
5. Always listen to your mother. Tom Hooper, who won best director for “The King's Speech” said that his mother brought this project to his attention. So he states, "Always listen to your mother." While parent’s advice is not always effective in business, their emotional support always is.
6. Always look the part. There is a great expression in business that we should “act as if." Even if you do not have the experience yet to pull off being the CEO or a key manager of a company, act as if you fit the part. Think back to the Academy Awards red carpet extravaganza where all the actors are well dressed for their part.
7. Always expect to win. Losers lose. We are what we think most about. Winning is contagious. It is okay to be gracious losing in business, but never ever be satisfied with it.
8. Always smile. Every actor at the Academy Awards knows how to smile for the camera. Employees will always react to a warm smile more than a stare or frown.
9. Always be prepared. Colleen Atwood, who won the Oscar for costume design for “Alice in Wonderland,” read a list of people she needed to thank. This was robotic and ineffective. Be prepared in every situation even if it is a surprise. Practice, practice, practice.
So what did you learn from the Oscars for your business?