As a VP at Google, Inc., Marissa Mayer is one of the most powerful women in the world. (previous sentence now outdated, but I know your insight will still find the lesson.) According to Fortune Magazine she’s in the top 50, and the youngest ever to achieve it too.
When she speaks, people pay attention. But today she’s being ignored. She’s onstage. She’s talking to Google employees. The room is packed, but no one’s paying attention. Marissa Mayer is being ignored because she’s standing onstage next to Lady Gaga.
It’s March 22, 2011 at the tech company’s corporate headquarters in Mountainview, CA and this is the day ‘Google goes Gaga’!!
As Lady Gaga approaches, the professional and powerful Marissa Mayer begins giggling like a schoolgir. Lady Gaga avoids her offered handshake and leans in for a hug. The powerbase in the room has tilted.
As they take their seats, you can tell the chairs are uncomfortable for Gaga. Their height and shape makes her mini-skirt a bit more revealing than she’d intended, but then she looks out at the crowd and her face lights up. They cheer. Marissa titters nervously.
Lady Gaga, the world’s biggest Rock Star is sitting for an in-depth interview at Googleplex, with an all employee crowd, and the cameras are recording for a worldwide broadcast via youtube.
Marissa’s supposed to handle all the questions, but she’s clearly just along for the ride. Gaga is in charge. Melissa manages to get out the words, “We’re so excited to have you here.”
But before she can even get to her first question, Lady Gaga is interrupting her. The next few words to come out of her mouth are pure Rock Star.
She turns to the crowd to say, “Thank you so much. This is such an honor… I respect all of you so much. I know there are some really amazing minds in this room, and I know how competitive it is. So… Thank you!”
Lady Gaga, the world’s biggest Rock Star just walked into a room of cheering fans. Her interviewer is teetering giddily along the edge of delirium and the crowd’s cheers are deafening.
Lady Gaga knows these first few moments in the room will be her most memorable. People may not remember how she answers the 4th question or what exactly happens 42 minutes into the interview, but the first few moments these fans spend with Lady Gaga will define their memories of her forever.
So what’s she do? Does she bask in the glory of her accomplishments? Does she use these first few moments to remind people about her new hit single? Does she plug her album or the new clothing line, or her latest sponsor? Does she talk about whatever issue of the day is on her mind?
No... She doesn’t do any of that. Lady Gaga takes her first few moments in the room, the most poignant and memorable moments of her time with these people and she uses those moments to compliment her audience.
She gives away the most memorable and important portion of her appearance. She uses it to focuses everyone’s attention on her audience. She reminds the audience how amazing they are.
She is telling her audience, “You’re awesome and I love you…” The crowd loves her for it. It makes them want her all the more.
Lady Gaga knows the secret. She knows the only reason she does any of this is to do it for the audience. She loves this audience, and it shows.
The more she loves her audience, the more they’ll love her in return. The more her fans love her, the higher her career can climb. By realizing her audience is more important than herself she’s insuring her own success. And that success will earn money for herself, her employees, and her grand-kids.
But she doesn’t do any of this for herself. It’s not the first thing on her mind. She has stepped onstage to make the audience happy. That’s the only reason she’s there. This is the first thing on her mind. Her fans are the priority. Money is not the purpose. Money is the result.
Want to see the video of Gaga visiting Google? You can check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNa_-1d_0tA