When we think, ‘Shark Tank’ we think vicious, heartless, ruthless and cold. In truth, my opinion of Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran, is just the opposite.
Yesterday at the WISE (Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship) Conference I was privileged to spend 30 minutes with the woman who turned $1,000 loan into a multi-billion dollar business. Barbara was the keynote speaker and shared her knowledge of business and success on the platform. However it was at the authors table I shared with her, that really showed me who the woman behind the pink suit and bright lights really was.
When she sat down next to me she took the time to shake my hand and introduce herself (as if I didn’t know who she was). She immediately made me feel I had every right to sit beside her. As the line formed before her, she kicked off her high heals and went to work. She signed autographs, took pictures and accepted ‘gifts’ from the mile long line waiting for a turn with the Mogul. She was as gracious and kind to the first woman, as she was with the last, giving each one her full attention and beautiful smile. When one women proceeded to hold up the line telling Barbara a very long story about her new invention, Barbara sweetly asked her to step to the side and said,” I’m listening and paying full attention, please continue.” Then she proceeded to smile and sign a book for the next in line.
In the 30 minutes we shared, she was given at least 25 gift bags from her fans. She turned to me and whispered, “There not really gifts, they are products hoping to be the next big thing.” and then she winked at me. She told me she takes them all home with her and has someone look them over. I wondered if the ladies in line knew exactly how lucky they were to have the opportunity to showcase their products to a women who had the power to make them into millionaires.
Barbara Corcoran had every right to act like a diva. She could have demanded in her contract to have special bottled water waiting for her at the table. She could have left the moment her contracted time was met. She had the right to say, ‘no pictures’, and could have asked for an assistant to help her at the book table (to keep the crazies away), but she didn’t do any of that. Instead she made us all fall in love with her by being kind, gracious, interested and genuine.
The advice she shared in her keynote wasn’t much different from the advice I heard several years ago from CEO Jack Welsh. It didn’t surprise me that these two very powerful people had the same ideas about success in business. It was what I learned after her keynote that will stay with me. That is to always be kind, gracious, interested and genuine. In my opinion that is what makes Barbara Corcoran a hero and someone to aspire to.
When I went to leave I handed her my latest book and said, “Something for you to read on the plane.” She not only thanked me, she hugged and kissed me goodbye! She made me feel like we were dear old friends. Barbara Corcoran knows how to make life long fans. I loved her!