If ever you meander into the bowels of my website on the Client Work & Words pages, you’ll notice selected quotes from the movie The Princess Bride (TPB). I idolize this particular film because the entire script is one continuous dialogue of “fractured fairy tale” humor.
These quotes can be interpreted as life lessons; I detect wisdom that can be reconstituted to the fast-moving world of business. But there’s just too much material to work with in one blog post. So, I will start with some of my favorites for you lovely readers and then revisit this blog topic with inspirational updates every so often. I do hope this is “As You Wish…”
Start Your Business Conversations in a Tactful Way: This sounds obvious, but if you start a networking or introductory conversation with an oddball question, chances are that’s all your potential business friend will remember about you. As admirable as he is, don’t follow in Inigo Montoya’s footsteps regarding what he asked the Man in Black (Westley) before their famous duel–
Inigo Montoya: “I do not mean to pry, but you don’t by any chance happen to have six fingers on your right hand?” The Man in Black: “Do you always begin your conversations this way?”
Never Tell a Client Something That Isn’t So: You never know how a misrepresented fact can come back to haunt a future project, referral or cost estimate, so just don’t do it. In exchange for Westley’s life, Buttercup offers to go quietly with Prince Humperdinck after she and Westley survive the Fire Swamp. Westley is left behind (inconceivable!), and Count Rugen tells a big whopper about returning him to his ship. Westley then says,
“We are men of action – lies do not become us.” (Some of us would rather be known as women of action!)
Keep Your Business Eyes on the Personal Health Prize: If a movie such as TPB can encourage you to take care of yourself while taking care of business, it’s more than comedy – it’s good advice! Here is the classic exchange between Prince Humperdinck and Count Rugen before Westley is tortured with “the Machine”—
Prince Humperdinck: “Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I’m swamped.” Count Rugen: “Get some rest. If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.”
Don’t Let Customers Rush You into Forced Errors: Perhaps you also grow weary of hearing “I need it yesterday” when you ask clients about their project or order deadlines. Don’t hesitate to provide your clients and customers with realistic deliverable dates. By doing so, you’ll minimize any unintentional (and sometimes fatal!) mistakes in your work. As Miracle Max said to Inigo and Fezzik when he was trying to revive a mostly dead Westley,
“You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.”
If you’re a Princess Bride fanatic, what is your favorite line from the movie? Have you ever read the book by William Goldman? If you’ve never seen The Princess Bride, why not? It’s a very family-friendly film that your offspring will appreciate as they get older. I highly recommend it!
Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business writing, editing, and research company in Marlton, New Jersey. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print and web marketing copy. Call her (856-810-9764) or email her (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a no-obligation project quote today!