November 25, 2011

Challenge the status quo... like a ninja!

I came across this status update from Michael Cortes on Facebook, saying, "This CANT be real?" You might not be able to see what he's pointing to in this picture, so I've pasted the text of the wedding announcement below. Take a moment to read it... and be patient. You'll be rewarded.

"Bethany Markle, Robert Kaiser

Bethany Jeanne Markle and Robert Thomas Kaiser exchanged wedding vows Sept. 23 at the Erie Maennerchor. Judge John Trucilla officiated at the 6 p.m. ceremony. A reception followed.

Matron of honor was Stacey Hammer, cousin of the bride; and maid of honor was Alyssa Markle, sister of the bride. Bridesmaids were: Kaitlyn Kaiser, sister of the groom; Lindsay Palmer and Toni Cole, friends of the bride.

Best man was Donny Mallin, friend of the groom. Groomsmen were: Adam Kaiser, brother of the groom; Brandon Markle, brother of the bride; Kevin Brower and Justin Latzo, friends of the groom. Flower girls were: Sophie Dias, cousin of the bride, and Addison Badowski, cousin of the groom. Ring bearer was Jackson Hammer, cousin of the bride.

The bride, daughter of Timothy and Sharon Papotnik of Waterford, is currently attending Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, pursuing a degree in early childhood/special education. The groom, son of James and Lisa Kaiser of Erie, is a ninja."

It's easy to fall into the trap of doing what we think everyone expects us to do, just because that's the way it's always been done. In this case, wedding announcements have a certain format, and we don't mess with that. But Bethany or Robert (or both) thought it would be funny to shake things up a bit, in a very subtle way, and it takes the announcement from being conventional and staid to just over the edge of quirky.

Last year, I realized that I was tired of handing out my boring bio to introducers and organizers. Why should I bore my audiences with where I went to school, what degrees I have, or where my interviews have been published? Big SNOOZE.

So I upgraded my bio to one that feels and sounds more like me. This is what I give to the person who is going to introduce me at a speaking engagement. It loosens up the audience right from the beginning, and lets them know that I'm not stuffy or traditional in my approach. And because almost everything in the bio is actually true (okay, maybe I didn't quote Shakespeare when I was three and have cleaned the bathroom once or twice), it does give a little insight into who I am.

Then they can go read the boring stuff on my website, if they really need to know my work history and official credentials.

How are you challenging the status quo? How are you shaking things up with your audiences?

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