This One’s a Rant About Passion

Note:  I’m only picking on one word here. I know English is flexible.  I’d like people to contemplate and understand about how they are using it, celebrate its diversity and stop writing/talking like they are turbocharged on 15 cups of coffee!
Have you noticed these days how everyone is passionate about practically everything? Just a random few from the Internet:
“I’m passionate about food and drink”
coffee love
Passionate about caffeine?
“Football is my passion”
“Professional florist with a passion for colour”
“Our passion is creating the event ..”
“Passion for shoes”
There is even someone with a website:
“Passionate about tiling” (honestly it’s about tiling)
Not sure about you, but for me passion is not something I feel you can offer to the general public as a commodity.  I’m not sure I’d want to!
Let’s get some perspective here people. Passionate about creating a event?  I would prefer someone who is diligent, responsible, yes enthusiastic, has a lively interest even and possibly some degree of eagerness.  From my events organiser I don’t want any powerful feelings of desire, intense emotions or anyone prone to extreme anger or excitement.  If someone is passionate about events organising I suggested they seek help (or cut down on the caffeine).
And “Passion for shoes”?  Do they make you swoon?  Sweep you off your feet?  (falling down a flight of stairs hardly counts) They can’t even make dinner!
Footsteps made by un-passionate shoes
OK, I admit I have my pedant head on here and I’m being extremely flippant.  I also admit I find the Internet an overwhelming place littered with extraordinary declarations.  I know it’s competitive in the virtual world as everyone is trying to connect to the real world by advertising their distinctiveness/brilliance/sheer wonderfulness and trying to attract attention by endlessly emphasing their unique selling point.
I for one would like a return to the achievable, the authentic, the “I’m a real person with a real product/service that can help you but I can’t grow wings and fly” school of business.
Maybe I can borrow her wings?
I probably have a pipe dream based on a world that never existed.  It’s probably also because I believe I do have a great product and yet I’m still unable to grow wings or sound the least bit convincing when I use words like passion.  I basically feel like a bit of a dope.
So, in brief I would like those people out there who bandy the word passion around to:
1.  get a grip and think about what they really mean,
2.  buy a new thesaurus and reclaim words like enthusiastic and
3.  not contact me.
Done now!
Thank you for reading. I’m off now to keenly participate in one of my many real-life enthusiasms 🙂
flowers 2 jjmellors
Florist with a passion for flowers!


Lessons From My First Market Stall

Warning, this is going to one of those useful blogs, a rare list.  I even have an official disclaimer, this is not a definitive list, this is  list of what I learned from my first market stall as a photographer.
Tea Tent – Southwell Folk Festival 2010 
How you will feel afterwards!

1.  A Second is essential.  Someone you can work with under unpredictable conditions, and who will help you (cheerfully and knowledgeably) promote your product or service.  Friend/family member/staff, some warm body, its a long day.  Obviously you will need bathroom breaks, you may need to get food and drinks but the biggest necessity for bringing a Second is for energy and opportunity. 
As I said its a long day – Get up, drive out, set up stall, talk, talk, talk, talk all day, take down stall, drive home, collapse.  You need a Second to keep your spirits up, to push you back into the ring when you’re had enough and because exhibitions are a great opportunity to sell your business to other stall holders so you need the opportunity to get out and talk to them.
Remember to teat your Second extremely well or they will never come again! And you need them.
Wine – Italy 2009 
What you need when you FINALLY get home!
2.   Drinks and nibbles.  Its a long day and can get expensive.  Of course you’ll want to try new things and buy a few treats from other stalls.  But you can’t subsists on a diet of cupcakes! (And a thermos of proper coffee if you are dependent like me.  You just can’t rely on these things!)
Proper Coffee – WOMAD 2010
One of my “suppliers”
 3.  A notebook to write down all this things you’re going to forget about the day.  Write down everything! e.g. Things you should bring next time, what another exhibitor is doing that looks like a great ideas (or even a bad idea) – inspirations and avoidances
4.   Another notebook, for visitors and potential clients to list comments and contact details (these you MUST respond to in a few days, striking while iron is hot!)
5.  Camera – take lots of photos of your stall (so you can see how fantastic it was and possibly how you can improve on perfection) and other photos for your pr and blog etc
Save the Pixies, Save the World – WOMAD 2010
Be clear about what you sell/do/stand for
 6.  If you want people to look at something or pick up something, they will not approach the table.  Customers are fearful they may have to engage you in conversation and then it will be more difficult for them to get away without buying or committing to something (or so they feel, I’m sure there’s a lot of physiology behind this).  If you want people to look at something put it in a neutral area, like a carousel display or stand away from the table.  And ignore them if they look flighty.  People hate being pounced on.
Remember Customers are skittish and scare easily!  They need enticing not stalking.
7.  Smile, smile, smile, wave and when faced with adverse comments just suck it up.  When (and its definitely a when not an if) someone says something really stupid and unhelpful (I’m a photographer so most often its, “anyone can do that”), smile even brighter  because you know the (potential) customer isn’t right.
Smile and Wave! (Goa 2009)
8.  And finally (for this list anyway) you must bring a positive attitude and all your positive people skills.  If you can’t abide the public and their scrutiny, then this isn’t for you.  You must be charming and gracious and all those good things.  People buy from people they like  and equally so people do business with people they like.
Group Positive Waving – WOMAD 2010 (with Rolf Harris :-))
Hope this helps.  I’m sure after I do my next show, and there will be one, I’ll have a completely different list of things to share.