In college, I loved being a bartender. It was fast-paced and fun, blending my penchant for connecting with others with the satisfaction of speed and efficiency. To this day, the sound of ice in a metal cocktail shaker makes me feel almost as good as the pop of a bottle of bubbly.
Shortly after graduation, I left the bar behind to focus on my career in public relations and marketing, working in an agency, which I also loved. In fact, I found a lot in common between the two. Client service and tending bar weren’t all that different, it turns out…
In both environments, I wanted every customer to feel like my only customer, but both businesses require lots of customers to survive. I also found the key to making money in both professions was to blend a little creativity and pleasantness with a whole lot of hustle and efficiency. Most important across both worlds, you had to be a good listener.
Bartenders who are good listeners know it’s not the telling of the story that earns the biggest tips. It’s the poignant response to the customer’s story that lets them know you really heard and understood what they said (all the while finishing up that batch of dishes or prepping citrus for the next rush). Similarly, effective agency people don’t try to be the smartest person in the room or throw out crazy ideas off the cuff. They really understand their client and bring ideas that deliver on what’s asked, but elevate it to what’s possible (again, all the while achieving the productivity crucial for success).
Today, I’m neither a bartender nor an agency professional. By day, I’m the Chief Experience Officer for Amplify Credit Union in Austin, Texas, which is another job I love. That means I sit on the other side of the bar these days, and most drinks I mix are in my own kitchen. Yet, I still consider myself a bartender at heart, and I believe some of the complicated parts of life are more easily understood through the lens of a cocktail.
That’s what this blog is about… libations & learnings about everything from cocktails to communications to marketing to leadership and more … because life’s most interesting insights should come distilled.
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