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The banality of perfection/the charm of imperfection

You’re at a big outdoor wedding. The weather is perfect, a warm sun softened by the occasional scudding cloud, a cooling breeze, the grass firm and dry. The marquee ripples gently, and guests are smiling and happy. The band plays crowd favourites: Dancing Queen, Lady in Red, and some old jazz standards. The food is delicious, there’s neither too much nor too little of it, and it’s always there when you want it.

At the end of the evening, you go home and say, “That was really nice.” A few days later, someone asks you how your weekend went, and you say, “Oh, I went to a lovely wedding. Everything was perfect.”

The next weekend, there you are at another outdoor wedding. The day starts out perfectly—and then an angry storm cloud appears out of nowhere, dumping buckets of rain. The guests are forced to run under the marquee—which is shuddering in the gusts of sudden wind, and threatens to lift off and blow away. You and the other guests are laughing, thrown together, some of you soaked through. Wine helps!

The storm passes, and the band sets up on the small stage. There’s a bit of a commotion, and the bandleader steps up to the mic to say, “Is there a guitarist in the house?” He tells a shaggy dog story about why theirs can’t play—and the cousin of one of the brides runs up to the stage shouting, “I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life!”

There are a couple of false starts—turns out she’s a basement guitar player in a punk band. But they all find their groove, and play a very random and entertaining set or three. People toss off their wet shoes and slide around the slippery lawn, dancing like goofs. Kids pogo in puddles.

The caterer has created a mashup of the interracial marriage’s heritages: Irani and Zimbabwean. The food is like nothing anyone has ever tasted—and most of it is really good.

You can’t stop talking about this wedding—at home, at work, at the coffee shop, in the grocery store lineup. Why? Because it was wildly imperfect.

Remember this the next time you’re preparing for a networking event, and worried about not having a stack of flawless business cards on thick card stock, or a slick memorized elevator speech about your business.

Want to make a lasting impression? Looking to make people curious about your business? Don’t hand off a hundred shiny business cards; do send folks a customized link to their own landing page on your website. Give out handwritten cards with watercolour art you did yourself. Toss them a cassette tape and dare them to find a place to listen to it.

Or hey, play basement punk guitar!

Make it imperfectly memorable. Get them talking.

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