Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.

I consider myself a typical blogger. I enjoy writing, and like many other people, I try to ensure as wide an audience as possible. I do not have to hide the fact that blogging is an essential marketing tool as a business coach and mentor.

And the internet is awash with blogs telling you ‘how to do it’ – how to create traction with your potential audience. If I was to sum it up in a sentence: Present in an exciting manner, ensure that the subject matter is meaningful, and try to make the content come over as new material.

Simple enough. The truth is that few people succeed as well as they want to, but it does not stop them from trying afresh the following week.

Last week, I believe that I posted interested material on this feed, as well as via LinkedIn and on my commercial Facebook page as Business Ambassador. Meanwhile, on the domestic front, my brand new ironing board broke. Like the nursery rhyme, it was stuck half way up and half way down. What’s the connection?

I posted this sad news on my private page, attaching a suitably mournful picture. Aside from a couple of useful comments re how to complain to the place of purchase, my friends used the opportunity to poke some fun at me. It became a joke in over the dinner table with guests. Even some clients had seen it and commented when they walked in to my office.

However, after some inspired thinking,  my youngest son fixed our prized possession. Naturally(?!?!), I had trained him. So, I posted again, this time with the picture of me and a fully operational ironing board. And here comes the punchline. I still looked absolutely morbid in the picture. (Yes, my children had a less complimentary description!)

The comments flooded in. And when I responded, my words only drew out yet more discussion.

Yes, this was new material – of a nature. It was reasonably well told. But meaningful? A man’s adventure with an ironing board is meaningful? Several people questioned why I still iron!

I suppose that the list of what you must do to become a successful blogger is missing one important ingredient. Way back in 1959, Stephen Sondheim wrote a song for the musical “Gypsy”. It was called ‘you’ve gotta get a gimmick’.

The anticipated picture should have shown me smiling. It did not. The picture encouraged people to think and then shout out. The audience was engaged.

Sounds silly? It had been intended, but I had not expected such a large number of posts back.

Postscript: A few minutes ago, I spoke to an Israeli client, a typical innovative SME I had helped them prepare their presentation for a multinational in the UK. He told me that what really won over the audience was his last line.

You see: I had assumed correctly that although his English is fine, his delivery comes over with an Israeli accent. He can sound dry. So, I trained him to sum up, then take a deep breath and like a good English politician say: “I commend this project to you”.

It was so unexpected: His audience was on the floor. The follow up is locked in for next month. (No, he did not take an ironing board with him, as well!)

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