The Vital Importance of Being Earnest in Business Dealings (and at Trade Shows)
Have you read Oscar Wilde’s famous play, “The Importance of Being Earnest”? Don’t fret if you haven’t; I’m not going to assign an essay or anything. [Insert your sigh of relief here]. For those of you who haven’t read the play, here’s the basic gist of the story: a man called Ernest leads a double life as a “man-about-town” in the city and as an upstanding citizen/good role model in the country, which inspires his best friend Algernon to do the same in order to better woo the lovely lady who’s caught his fancy. In short, misunderstandings occur because of their lies and at the end of the play both men discover that their aliases and dishonesty have actually hindered them more than benefited them. At the close, one of the men comments that he has “now realized for the first time in [his] life the vital importance of being earnest.”
Why am I talking about a late-nineteenth-century play in a promotional products blog? Well, because rereading the play gave me some serious food for thought. Why can’t the message of Wilde’s play also apply outside of the literary realm over a century later? Couldn’t it be applied to business ethics and everyday life? And even more specifically, why shouldn’t it apply to your trade show demeanor?
What it means to be earnest:
“Earnest” is defined as “a serious and intent mental state (a proposal made in earnest).” In other words, being earnest entails sincerity and seriousness.
What being earnest will provide to you in business:
Besides having a clear conscience, being an earnest businessperson provides you with ample opportunities. Customers are far more likely to do repeated business with you when you’re sincere and genuine in your business dealings. How much good would it do your company to lie just to make a quick buck? Even though this SHOULD go without saying, I’ll say it anyway: honesty and fairness would be endlessly beneficial to your business in the long-term because you’d build trust and customers would keep coming back.
Why you should realize the vital importance of being earnest when you represent your company at trade shows:
Nobody likes liars, and that includes trade show attendees! I’ve been tricked at trade shows on numerous occasions and I immediately shut off contact with that vendor after I find out. For example, one company swore up and down that they wouldn’t sell my email address to third parties, so I signed up for more information about their services. Two months later, my inbox was completely full of nonsense emails and spammy links. Since they were the only ones I’d given that particular email address to, I knew it was them. When I confronted them, they then “came clean” and said they actually DO give customer emails out. What a bunch of con artists! Why should I do business with someone who can’t give me honest answers or maintain a serious attitude when it comes to my personal information?
The concept of being an earnest trade show vendor is quite simple; never mislead people, lie to them, or otherwise deceive them in an attempt to get their attention or to make a quick sale. Don’t spam your potential customers’ email accounts with updates if you assured them you wouldn’t. Don’t lie about exclusive deals or specials and then refuse to honor them later.
It really is that simple!
I realize that I’ve brutally oversimplified the plot of “The Importance of Being Earnest” and that there are many moral paradoxes associated with its theme that I haven’t touched upon, but I’m not trying to write a college paper…I’m trying to draw a thought-provoking parallel between one of my favorite pieces of literature and the discipline of promotional advertising!
What are your thoughts on this blog post? Have you ever been deceived at trade shows or while doing business in general? Do you have an example of trade show earnestness that you’d like to share? Or perhaps you’re a bookworm like me and you have something to say about Oscar Wilde’s play? Leave me a comment and we’ll mix business with pleasure: trade show ethics and literature!
Thanks for reading the Quality Logo Products blog, and know that you can count on us to understand the importance of earnestness in business dealings.