Chris Markiewicz's Blog
Every Monday – thoughts, observations and ideas that hold up a mirror to who & how we are

Open for business?


 The other evening I was noodling around on my PC and popped into Twitter for the first time in weeks. I came across a link to a blog written by a guy in the States called Scott Ginsberg. I lazily started half reading the post and then a paragraph jumped out at me:

 And in my experience, the more vulnerable you are, the more open you are. The more open you are, the less you have to hide. The less you have to hide, the more relaxed you become. And the more relaxed you become, the more effectively you can communicate with others.

 This piece reminded me of big questions I often ask myself:

 Can I really open myself up to such a degree? Can I make myself utterly vulnerable and yet cut the mustard, especially in the world of work and business?

 It also brought to mind a member of my family who wrote openly on her blog about her experience of depression. This is someone who has a successful career – a high flyer if you will, who feels able to expose her deepest feelings in a public forum. Yet she recently secured a plum new post in her chosen field of advertising – a profession where image can mean so much.

 We live in a world of posturing. A world where making a good impression is of paramount importance. I sometimes get nauseated by the amount of posturing that appears on on-line business forums where it would be a cardinal sin to say “I’m feeling scared today” or “business is crap for me at present, actually”.

 And, as for networking……

 Such events are a hotbed of posturing – swaggering even – about how well everyone is apparently doing. This is understandable, given we want to be attractive to possible clients and associates.  It creates a kind of conspiracy that goes “If you don’t tell me how it really is for you, then I won’t tell you how it really is for me”. The result of such interactions (for me, at least) is to come away at times thinking that everyone else is doing OK except me. The irony? Chances are that everyone else may well feel the same as they trudge their way home!

 Michael, a pal of mine related recently to me an experience he’d had at such an event where someone actually did open up about how it really was for them. Apparently the whole energy of the event transformed into open, honest interaction. People relaxed in the way that Scott Ginsberg suggests. According to Michael it was a highly successful event as a result.

 I occasionally wonder about what is and isn’t OK to put on social networking sites and other public forums such as this blog. Just how much can I open myself up? I’ll be open here and admit to holding back and even posturing at times. Would revelations about myself stand against me? Would people steer away from doing business with me – despite admiring the openness? Would I stitch myself up?

If I’m really, really good at what I do – which I am, then it shouldn’t be an issue.

 But then again, might the world cave in?

 I guess there’s only one way to find out.           


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3 Responses to “Open for business?”

  1. Spot on again Chris – and good to get a mention.

    You are so right – words like authenticity, integrity and honesty are too often missing from our communication in the business world. In my discipline (Organisational Gestalt) as you know, authenticity is one of the key words. Without it communication is false and trusting relationships hard to build. This is not the best recipe for success in the workplace.

    So like you and Scott, I advocate openness and honesty, even if this exposes a vulnerability.

    As ever


  2. Your posts always trigger a connection with me Chris. I was going to a networking event last week with my usual “I’m not really looking forward to this” head on and shared this with the remarkable Adrian Goodall ( A few text messages later I had reset my intent away from collecting/dispensing business cards to “connecting with someone at a deeper level than the usual ‘what do you do?’ stuff”. I was the first to introduce my self at the group and shared this aspiration. It felt good and took the pressure off myself to perform the conventional networking manner. And yes, I did make a deeper connection which might bear fruit one day.
    Patrick Lencioni in 5 Dysfunctions of teams offers “vulnerable trust” as the foundation stone of successful teams – to me it is the foundation of any successful and fulfilling relationship.
    Keep the blogs coming.

  3. Disclosing information about yourself, or as you put it exposing your own vunerability is a very powerful influencing approach as long as it comes across as sincere. We all have our own vunerabilities and it is reassuring to know that everyone else has too, despite the macho world in which we live today. By opening one’s own window, people open theirs too, the two parties become much closer, and a trust bond is created.

    Incidentally, Mr Sado here watches the X-Factor (with family I might add that includes an avid 10 year old !). Personally, I am not fooled by Misha B’s show of disclosure. Yes she exposed her vunerability for the millions watching, but it didn’t pass the sincerity test at all. But it must have done for the viewers who voted for her !

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