It was a typical VMware request. Can you help our rep meet the CFO of one of the largest companies in the region? So I arranged a lunch with the senior partner of the world’s largest audit firm who knew the CFO personally.
We ordered our TexMex in downtown Austin and I had 3 veggie tacos.
As the thirty-something rep started talking to the fifty-something audit partner, she used the word “awesome” 4 times before I finished the first taco. As I started on the second taco, I could see the audit partner silently counting in his head, the times she said “awesome.” Then came “dude.” Who uses that term with someone over the age of 35?
The audit partner grew increasingly silent as I rounded my third taco but the sales rep kept up the “awesome” (s). We were now at 11. Three “dudes.” The audit partner was now visibly agitated and looked at me with that grown-up look, plaintive in nature, that says “why am I here?” “What did I do to deserve this?”
I could feel the unease. The VMware rep could not. To her, everything was just “awesome.”
Mercifully, the lunch ended and we departed to our cars in the hot, July, Texas sun.
The audit partner’s car was in the same garage as mine. We walked together not saying a word. I was embarrassed to speak, hoping it would all be silently forgotten.
The audit partner was not afraid to speak up. He said to me “….now I will always know what it is like to talk business to my 11 year old daughter.”
I did not respond, just gave him a look that said I was not the guilty party. VMware made me do it—I tried to pass the blame.
Then, a day later, we all got an email from the rep laying out the next steps from the “awesome” meeting.
We have all experienced this type of meeting.
Maybe we can learn our language rather than using crutches and ruining any credibility we may have.