6.24.2009

Speak Softly, or the World According to Peter Rabbit

This past Sunday, my family gathered for the Annual William’s Family Reunion in West Tennessee. It was earlier than usual this year because my Great-Uncle Pete wanted to celebrate his 82nd birthday with about 100 of his closest relatives. I was sad to miss the celebration, but I’ve been thinking lots about him.

Uncle Pete (whose real name isn’t really Pete. It’s Roy, but he really loved Peter Rabbit, so my great-grandparents let him go by Pete. I think that’s what happens when you have 10 kids. As long as they answer, you’ll call ‘um whatever they want) has many outstanding qualities: loving husband, wonderful father and grandfather, and is so nurturing and kind no one can resist running up and giving him a big bear hug the instant they see him.


One of my favorite things about Uncle Pete is he speaks quietly. We know when Uncle Pete talks, it’s important, because this is a man who doesn’t talk to hear the sound of his own voice. He’s over six feet tall and has the stance of a man who has farmed his whole life, so he looks like he’d have a deep, booming voice. He doesn’t. I’m certain he could have a deep, booming voice if he wanted to – but he knows it’s much more effective to speak quietly. Makes people pay attention, really lean in to hear what you’re saying. He knows folks are more likely to remember what you say if you speak simply, softly.

The best marketers take a page out of Uncle Pete’s book. They don’t add to the noise with useless messages. They don’t scream to be heard above the roar of the crowd. They say what they need to say, when their audience needs to hear it, and they speak with authority … no loud, booming voice necessary.

And you lean in and listen closely, every single time.

Happy Birthday, Peter Rabbit! XO - Amy Mac

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