Of pocket protectors and other little things

This June I’m leading a roundtable discussion at an upcoming PR industry conference. The subject is client relationships. So I’ve been thinking about what I can talk about and something happened last week that felt like a good starting point.

A client gave me a plastic pocket protector.

You know the kind: they fit into your breast pocket with a flap that holds it in place. Very Revenge of the Nerds or ’50s gas station chic.

And that one small act made my day, my week even. Now lest you think I am a total nerd (though I will admit to certain nerd-like tendencies), I’ll tell you why this had such a big impact on me.

A few weeks earlier, I was about to meet with this same client and noticed the pen in my jacket pocket leaked and left a huge blue stain on my shirt. Feeling a bit self-conscious I ran out to the mall across from my office, which, fortuitously was in sidewalk sale mode. And I actually picked up a decent cotton shirt for a good deal. I wore it to the presentation and mentioned my sartorial 911 to the client. He suggested I should wear a pocket protector and we all had a good laugh.

You can imagine my surprise the next time I saw him when he actually presented me with one. This got me thinking about the minutiae of life and how important they can be. They humanize a business relationship and imbue it with personality, wit and style. And we remember.

So that’s one point for my upcoming talk: Little things count big.

Now, I just need eight or nine more. Any suggestions?



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