December 9, 2010

Sweating a joke

Do you like to tell jokes? I guess we all do… How good are we in telling jokes? That’s another story. A lot of people, myself included, cannot tell a joke as well as a few talented others. However,  even the most talented person in telling jokes can cause disaster within minutes if he tells one in the wrong place.

They were a group of 6 people, we were 4. After lunch we all were sitting in the premises of the foreign prospective partner of my client, drinking coffee. The meeting had gone well in a sincere and warm atmosphere. The sound of occasional laughter showed that both sides liked each other.

I don’t remember how we reached that point. I just heard my client starting to tell a joke concerning people from three different countries. If the three countries mentioned in my client’s joke had not contained my client’s and the prospective partner’s countries, then I wouldn’t have had much to worry about.

As I was profusely sweating from every pore of my body, the finale that I was expecting with fear reached the whole table from my client’s mouth. In the joke, the man from my client’s country had tricked the man from the prospective partner’s country. At that point, even sweating didn’t help.

Today we have a section on “telling jokes” as we prepare our clients for the negotiation discussions. I don’t want to sweat like that in any other meeting.

If you are wondering what happened next… They thanked for our visit but there were no further negotiations.

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