As many of you are aware, I am a big fan of comedy, especially stand-up. So it was with great interest that I read an AP article on Bob Newhart celebrating 50 years in showbiz. (Normally at this point I’d provide information regarding the person I had referenced but I doubt there’s anyone reading this that doesn’t know who Bob Newhart is. In fact, I suspect many of you will have even played a few rounds of “Hi Bob”*).
Says Bob (who’s 81 and been doing stand-up for 50+ years),
“I’ve had time off and it drove me nuts. I was crawling up the walls. I know some people say, ‘I want to quit making people laugh. That doesn’t make sense to me. Why would I want to stop?” I think for many of us, it’s the same mind set. If we’re doing things right, developing proposal is exciting, challenging, and fun.
As regards refinement –
“I have an idea and I’ll try it in Seattle and maybe refine it a bit in Calgary and maybe refine it a little more in Vancouver. The art of it is doing it a million times and see what happens. That’s a kick. Do it a million times but make it seem like it’s the first time. That’s the art of it.” Here too, lots of parallels to what we do, if we’re doing things right. We submit content within one proposal, get feedback, refine it, and submit it to on next opportunity, constantly trying to make it as powerful as possible and tailored to the specific client (think audience here!). And we need to make it appear fresh, no matter how many times it’s been used (think ‘cut and paste’ done right.)
On preparation –
“About 6pm, I start pacing up and down getting ready for a show. You never take it for granted cause if you do it will slap you in the face and make you wake up.” This, after 50+ years. Still a bit nervous each time. Still the nervous anticipation. Still acknowledging the need to not take things for granted. I need not point out the parallel here to our work, right?
*For those of you who might not be familiar with this game, “Hi Bob” is a drinking game wherein the players have to take a drink each time one of the characters says, “Hi Bob”. (Each of the characters says this every time they see Bob…which is several times during each episode.)