A true professional is always equipped with the tools of his trade to spring into action at a moment’s notice. In addition to making a positive impression, preparation sets you apart from the competition and can help get your name in the public eye

American Express has made a veritable fortune since the 1975 inception of its advertising campaign: “don’t leave home without it.” In addition to being a moneymaker and a memorable slogan that is now inseparable from American Express, it is also a solid piece of general advice.

A few weeks ago, my good friend Reb Yisroel Besser of Yated and Mishpacha fame ran a picture of mine in his popular Inner Circle column. You may have seen it. It is a photo I snapped of a sign outside the Young Israel of Stamford, Connecticut, which says: “Thou Shalt Not Park Here.”

I took it one morning when I was in the area for a professional seminar. It may not be the 11th commandment, but I related to it with all earnestness, making sure not to park within daled amos of that revered spot.

The key point here is that the only reason I was able to capture this shot on my digital camera, and earn the photo credit that Mishpacha gave me, is simply because I had my camera with me. This is not a chiddush. I always take a camera wherever I travel. Photography is an essential tool of the marketing trade, and speaking of credits, the idea of never leaving home without my camera must be credited to Mr. Irving Schild.

Mr. Schild was one of my instructors when I attended FIT for advertising and marketing, many years ago. He is a world renowned photographer whose clients include a number of Fortune 500 companies. He is also a Shomer Shabbos Jew and as nice a man as you would ever want to meet. He taught us that if we wanted to be truly great photographers, we had to be camera-ready at all times. Nowadays, this is much easier. Most digital cameras and smart phones fit neatly into your shirt pocket and produce print quality photos. 

I heard a similar story about being Johnny on the spot about Walter Rodgers, once a top CBS news correspondent. In March of 1981, just a couple of months after Ronald Reagan became president, a deranged man, John Hinckley Jr., tried to assassinate Reagan on the streets of Washington DC. Rodgers was the only radio reporter to get the sound of the gunshots on tape; giving CBS radio news a scoop.

How did he do it? He had left his tape recorder running the whole time he was out on the street to capture background noise. While most reporters would only turn on their tape at the start of an interview, Rodgers’s ‘shita’ was to press the record button every time he was out in public. After all, tape was cheap, you could always recharge the batteries once you got back to the office and you never knew what sounds you might pick up.

If it sounds simple, it’s because it is. Sometimes the simplest preparations pay surprising dividends.

I would offer the same sound advice to anyone whose job responsibilities include meeting with the public and getting your name, or your organization’s name across. I’m still surprised, on occasion, when I attend a conference or meeting and exchange business cards with the person I am meeting, only to hear him say he doesn’t have one on him.

It is easy to be a bit complacent about business cards in this email generation, but a good old-fashioned hearty handshake, smile, and handing out of a business card is still the best introduction.

Speaking of handouts, it can also pay off handsomely to have a tri-fold, color brochure of your organization handy to pull out of your jacket pocket that will fit just as perfectly inside the jacket pocket of the fellow you just shook hands with.

With the Succos upon us, most of us will be getting together with family and friends, or traveling to beautiful and exciting places. Please don’t forget your camera! You’ll find me with my camera on those Chol Hamoed trips! It’s the only way to “capture the moment.”

Wishing you and your family a “picture perfect” Yom Tov.

This Week’s Bottom Line Action Step: Have the tools of your trade handy at all times.

Sign-up for our monthly emails!

We promise your inbox won’t regret this! Sign-up for engaging and informative business content to help your business scale and thrive!