Lessons from a showgirl

Last week I was at the Miele Catwalk event where we were welcomed by a couple of beautiful girls dressed in extravagant costumes. They reminded me of the many times that I performed as a showgirl at big, luxurious corporate parties. Before I became a ‘Doctor’ in the area of branding, I used to spend at least 12 to 20 hours a week dancing and singing at Diana Meijer ShowBizz Academy. Classical ballet, jazz, tap dance and showdance, I followed classes and gave my own. Almost every weekend I performed professionally with my (girl)friends, often wearing not much more than bikini and feathers.

When I started working at Positioneringsgroep, I hesitated to tell my new colleagues about my ‘other life’, but when you are passionate about something, it’s very difficult to hide. The only thing I really was afraid of, was meeting CEO’s and other boardroom members at their corporate parties. I always had this nightmare of presenting branding strategies to men in suit during the day and being recognized by them during the night, while doing my sexy moves on stage. At the same time, I enjoyed seeing top managers in the context of fun and entertainment. Instead of being serious, status-sensitive businessmen, they loosened up, dancing and singing, not afraid to be laughed at while failing to pass under the limbo stick. They became … human!

I haven’t been performing on stage since I became a mom two-and-a-half years ago, but at BR-ND I still use the learnings from my time as a showdancer. When people are having fun, status disappears and people tend to be more vulnerable. Vulnerability, to my opinion, is one of the key success factors of friendship and cooperation.

Oh, in case you wondered, I never stood face-to-face in my feathers with someone I just met in the boardroom. Being older and wiser now, and less afraid, I wish I had!

By Kim Cramer PhD