An article called Faux Feast appeared in last week’s NY Times. Author Teval Rao wrote about Shokuhin Sampuru. a multibillion-dollar industry in Japan, China and Korea. If you’ve seen life-sized food displays in windows of Asian restaurants, you recognize this craft.
Here’s the surprising part. Asian artisans typically focus on perfection in every detail of what they produce. In Cambodia, we saw a master teacher smash an intern’s statue because one miniscule detail was off.
However, perfection almost ruined the Shokuhin Sampuru
industry. The faux fish and other proteins were so perfect that they looked fake. Diners were put off until artisans included grill marks, fat bubbles, and crinkles on their fake fish. They even created ice on the outside of beer and soda cans to reflect reality.
For years, we’ve added grill marks to our clients. When asked to “make a client smoother or polished” we refused. Humans have uneven vocal rhythms, accents and distinctive gestures. The more we exhibit our unique personalities and behaviors, the more appealing and credible we are.
Yes, audiences love a clear intention, singular message, and well-organized structure. But what draws people to you is the imperfect human delivering the talk who knows who they are and owns it. Be perfectly imperfect.