When Sun Tzu wrote The Art of War he had no idea centuries later it would be used worldwide by corporate heads as a bible for big business. They found that the military strategies presented by Sun Tzu apply to commerce as well as to killing Chinese. And the very same goes for Miyamoto Musashi’s Kenjutsu masterpiece Book of Five Rings. Miyamoto’s combat rules for swordplay apply to negotiating and sales as well as dicing and slicing.
Chain Comedy works for business.
My twenty-three Comedy Commandments apply to every activity you are involved in. Think about that. The answers are all here. You want to grow your business, bump up your client list, get the ear of your audience, be the go-to guru, the world’s foremost authority, the tops in your field? What’s stopping you? All it takes is hard work, preparation, Spontaneous Comedy savvy, and the balls (or alternate female anatomical parts) to do it. But then, if you are reading this, you are already a driven, motivated, relentless entrepreneurial hellion.
Try role playing.
You can test my Comedy Commandments yourself by setting up sales, client, prospect, colleague, partner, group, negotiating and speaking scenarios the same way we do for a comedy improv scene. A little role playing goes a long long way to mastering the art of Spontaneous Business. And practice makes profit.
It’s who you know.
In acting it pays to know who you are working with. Pros always do this. As I pointed out a few chapters back, scenes play out differently with different people. Know who they are and you’ll have a good idea of how things will turn out.
In business it is the same.
It’s who you know in business too. You need to know who you are dealing with if you want to be successful. And know them well.
Do your homework.
Sun Tzu said, “know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.”
Know your customer’s, client’s, colleague’s, partner’s, prospect’s, group’s, or boss’ background, frame of reference, personality, and comfort zone. It’s not just a boost to their egos. Do that and you’ll know where to go, how to pitch, and what to expect from them.
Facebook is your friend.
Check out your target’s social media profile. The internet makes it easy to discover their hot buttons, brews of choice, favorite hang outs, and other assorted peccadillos. Success in business comes from putting in that extra bit of effort. Or marrying the boss’s daughter.
The eyes have it.
You have eyes. Use them! If you have to size someone up on the spot play Sherlock Holmes. Glean what you can about them from their dress and demeanor. Are they wearing a hockey mask and brandishing a chainsaw? If you’re in their office, take a good look around. Do they have framed pictures of their family? Bronzed baby shoes? What books are on their shelves? Is their wall art Norman Rockwell or Salvador Dali? Golf clubs in the corner or trophies on a table? Is their music Mozart or mosh pit? Knick-knacks on desktops speak volumes about a person. Are they imaginative or are they strictly business? And are their tchotchkes neatly ordered or scattered? Elementary my dear Watson.
Business, like comedy, requires your eyes, your ears, your mind, and your imagination.