Lessons in Knowing Your Audience from Two Fishing Guides

My buddy Robert and I went fishing over the weekend in Tampa. We caught lots of fish including tarpon, speckled trout, snook, and grouper. We had a lot of fun.

And we also experienced how carefully gauging your audience can help build a relationship.

On the first day, we ended up with a young fellow named Dave. He actually wasn’t the guide we had expected. The one we had contracted with didn’t show up and Dave came in his place. 

But Dave seemed like a nice enough fellow so off we went.  Dave worked extremely hard and put us on lots of fish.  He also asked lots of questions about our families and careers. We ended up talking a lot about our dogs, famlies and sports.  I love dogs, families and sports.

We caught a lot of fish. And we had a great time.

Contrast that with what happened on the second day. That’s the day we went out with Jack.  The day started badly when Jack started telling rascist jokes. Then he started telling about his time in the military when he was disciplined for a problem he had with a black woman who worked with him. “What a surprise,” I thought to myself. 

It went on and on.  I shut down and just focused on fishing.

We caught a lot of fish with Jack. But it wasn’t nearly as fun as catching lots of fish with Dave.

Both Jack and Dave were excellent fishermen. They put us on lots of fish. But Dave took care to understand who we were as people. He listened to us and we found points of commonality. Jack didn’t.

We can’t wait to go back and fish with Dave.

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