Three Things You Learn About the East Coast by Being Outside of it

June 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

Alas, my nearly week-long escapade to Austin, Texas has ended; but not without some new revelations at hand.

For the majority of my visit, I attended the Admerica conference which included the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) and attended seminars including topics such as the ethics of marketing.

Marketing ethic commandment #1- Thou shall not steal your client’s money and use it to buy a yacht (I know- I’m bummed about it, too)

But outside of these meetings, I got to see a very different perspective of what life is like on the other side of the country. For starters, there’s a lot more barbacue. But more importantly, it helped me realize some of the moderately rediculous social norms of us East-Coast centirists, the things we can change to improve our communication skills overall. Like adding more pulled pork to the menu.

here are the top three things you can learn about business and social relations by taking a step into the West:

1. Smiles are nice, but wishing them that they have a nice day while opening the door and smiling is better.

Courtesy is something that many East-Coasters like myself tend to take for granted; it’s almost as though we are driven by our desire to fulfill our own needs that we often times tend to downgrade our acts of kindness towards others. If there’s one thing Texas has taught me, it is that there is no restiction to how kind you can be. You must look outside of yourself to give those around you the “full package”- positive thoughts will translate to more positive feelings and in turn a larger extension of kindness to yourself and those around you.

2. If somebody is being overtly kind, it does not mean that they are trying to lure you in to kick you under the bus

A stranger with a drink cooler comes up to you and offers you a lemonade.

What do you do?

If you are from Texas, you ask them about their business promotion. If you are from the East Coast, you assume they are trying to poison you, most likely giving them a nice serving of death-stare as you power-walk in the other directon.

“Freebies? Random stranger being friendly to me? RUN!”

Us East-coasters, having a stranger tolerance level somewhere in the negative level, automatically assume that anything or anyone that seems to kind or cheery is always a secret plot to stalk us and strike us down after they break into our homes and steal our children.

More than once, I had kind people start talking to me with limited effort on my part. And get this- it’s almost like they are genuinely interested in you. Now that’s impressive.

3. No, hugging and respectful physical contact will not give you a life-threatening neurovirus

One thing that shocked me- Texans actually show one another their affection in public. And I don’t mean PDA here, ladies and gentlemen, I mean like friends casually hugging. Whoa.

In the South people just seem to be a lot less guarded about their kind feelings for one another, and they actually express it not only verbally, but through gentle gestures like pas on the back and hugs. Although the Boston area is not necessarily the most touchy-feely, it’s better than those New Yorkers whom I am sure you know, who are the equivalent of hugging a prickly pear cactus.

“Aww it just looks so huggable, don’t you think so?”

East Coasters seem to generally have  an allergy towards a lack of personal space bubbles, making close encounter excusions, like the MBTA, a challenge in itself.

These rules are not only applicable to social relations, but to business as well. I am by no means asking you to give your boss a gut-wrenching bear hug when you walk into worl tomorrow morning, but I am advocating to make kind, genuine behavior a common facet of the intrpersonal marketing and business experience.

Well, what do y’all think?


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