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The Importance of Relatability

Yep. That’s me… in a hard hat

…in my twenties.

A few weeks ago,

I was deep in the back of my closet

digging through boxes

to hunt down this photo.

“Got it!” I called to my husband.

I emerged triumphant,

scanned the image and added it to my slides.


On Feb 27,

I delivered the opening keynote

for a conference of 550 union leaders,

labor management leaders, and contractors

who specialize in sheet metal installation.

Clearly not my field.

But for about a year in my 20s,

I worked part time for Con Edison,

(New York’s power company)

where I served as Associate Producer

in the “Visual Communications” department.

We created safety training videos,

using a story-based filmmaking angle.

As part of the job, I would often be wearing

a hard hat whenever we would

tour a facility or be on site for a shoot.

While I’ve never worked in sheet metal or in construction per se,

this small point of connection

—being on a job site all day,

wearing a hard hat—provided

a point of relatability for my keynote.

It was one of many custom details that I added.

The focus of the keynote was leadership skills

so along with my core content

I also included specific stories,

analogies, visuals, humor and key phrases

that would resonate with this audience in particular.

Regardless of your role or profession,

every time you communicate

with an individual or with a group,

these points of connection

carry tremendous value.

Whether it’s a professional point of connection

or a personal one (i.e. something you discover

on a public social post, profile or bio)

it has the power to add momentum

and “oomph” to your message

and allow your audience to be

more receptive to what you have to say.

Yet we so often overlook these simple details.

2 minutes of research

or 20 minutes deep in your closet

(or even multiple hours crafting new bits when the stakes are high)

can go a long, long way.

So Risk Forward & Connect On,


P.S. The keynote got a standing ovation… and a number of opportunities have unfolded as a result. The time you put in to truly connect can often pay incalculable dividends.

P.P.S. What’s an upcoming communication opportunity you have and what one element could you incorporate to make your message even more relatable?

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