Wednesday, January 31, 2007

You Can Go Home Again

Credibility is an interesting thing. I’ve given two presentations this week, both well received. At the first, my credibility came from my resume - people were receptive because my career accomplishments are recognizable and because they occurred in a context similar to the audience’s context (law school, then a law firm, then a company, and so on). The second presentation, though, was at one of the law firms where I actually worked. And I noticed a difference – not in the receptivity of the audience (both groups were great), but in the effect my words seemed to be having. There was something about my having actually worked at the firm that personalized what I was saying and prompted reactions that looked to me like epiphanies. I’m pretty sure I saw "Wait – she did that here?!" expressions on more than a few faces and I’m also pretty sure that the messages I was communicating had even more force as a result. It’s much harder to maintain negative thinking, fear and uncertainty in the face of someone who actually accomplished - at the same place and with many of the same people - a thing or two that you suspected might be impossible.

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