This month’s post
Never empty handed!
My grand-mother used to say: “never leave a room empty handed: there’s always a glass to pick up, an object to put away… Your head and your legs will thank you for it later.”
A similar principle applies to meetings with clients; one should always get there with an objective in mind. This objective should be an action (internal or external) that you’d like your client to take. And let’s be clear once and for all: regular meetings (as stipulated in your contract) during which data are presented (current figures, technical points, what’s been achieved…) are a waste of everybody’s time… in and of themselves. The same information could just as well be sent as a document to all parties.
This type of meeting is only worthwhile when one is able to transform it into an opportunity. If the ultimate objective, for example, is to retain the client’s business, ask yourself how this regular meeting can fulfil this aim each and every time. For instance, one of the stages of the contract is not going smoothly. The goal becomes then to reassure your client, explain what happened, how you’ve resolved the situation, and what you’re going to do to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Another example: your customer is very happy with your services. Maybe, then, this is the right moment to introduce the other ways in which you might be able to help. And in this case, you need to have prepared for this conversation by making a list of all the questions that your client might ask…and how you’d answer them.
You’ve heard us say it before and we’ll say it again: your time and your clients’ is precious. You must therefore make the most of those face-to-face moments to achieve what a set of data can’t do by itself: captivate, move, persuade… and act.
Presenter of the month
Desire, self-belief, willingness to do what is needed, to endure discomfort, to pour energy into one’s performance, to persevere – intelligently, again and again… Rings a bell? That’s the recipe for creating talent. No-one is ever born with talent. But everyone, without exception, has the potential to craft it. There is no more convincing demonstration of this than watching Michel Petrucciani and the mesmerising talent he fashioned from the daunting hand he was dealt at birth…
What’s in it for you?
The organisation: a collective of human beings
Every marketing expert specialising in consumer products knows that their work rests mostly on the way they will elicit in customers a range of emotions in order to create an interest, a desire or the impulse to buy.
Paradoxically, the B2B world seems to bypass the emotional dimension completely, on the grounds that it’s dealing with organisations rather than with consumers… The assumption is, therefore, that it’s dealing with hyper-rational individuals devoid of feelings. Robots, actually. Or Mr Spock’s clones.
So, just for you, here is one of the best-kept secrets of the modern economy: the individuals that comprise the organisations of both private and public sectors are human beings. Like other human beings, they have feelings, difficulties, questions and doubts. Like other human beings, they fall prey to stress, pressures and constraints. And even if they make decisions on behalf of a greater entity, through the filter of internal regulations, of group-wide strategies, of demands for profitability and economy, they are still women and men who function along the same lines as… other human beings.
Like other human beings, they need to be heard, to be cared for, to feel engaged, and to be helped to do their jobs better. First of all for their own sake, and then for the corporation of which they are a part.
And none of this can be achieved via figures, Excel charts or PowerPoint slides. It can only be done when a human (you) takes the time to talk to another human (the person or audience in front of you).
It happened to them first
A glass of white wine
After each course, we hand out an evaluation form. No doubt you are familiar with this type of document. We invite our participants to tell us what they liked and what they didn’t… And then, we have a ritual.
When the last delegate has left, we sit down with a glass of white wine – if at all possible – and we read the feedback. Praise feels good, and criticism not so good… For as long as it takes to finish our glass of wine.
Once this ritual is over, all feedback is put in perspective. We don’t let negative comments ruin our morale, but neither do we let positive comments – which constitute the overwhelming majority of the feedback we get – fool us into believing that our work is done.
Our hunger for recognition can lead us to work with a view to eliciting it as often as possible. It’s a trap. A pipedream that has us under the cosh. Many great artists never obtained recognition until…they were dead. That didn’t discourage them from continuing with their work as they saw fit, rather than as the public demanded.
The reptilian part of our brain constantly drives us to make sure we are part of the tribe. This dynamic probably enables us to feel safe, but does it guarantee fulfilment? Worse still: does it facilitate the full expression of our potential?
And yet, the full expression of our potential is what is expected by the only person to whom we are accountable: ourselves.
And what else?
The tomato: fruit of a fulfilled workforce
Morning Star is a US company that grows and processes tomatoes. It supplies 40% of the American market. But that’s not all. Since its creation in 1970, it’s also been at the forefront of management innovation. Its core principle is self-management. Literally, this means that every Morning Start employee takes responsibility – for their working hours; for their work schedule; for their working methods; for their equipment; for their budget; for their salary. And for ensuring they work in harmony with all the other employees.
So, Morning Star produces tomatoes. Its growth is constant and has never been affected by a recession. It has even founded a Self-Management Institute that educates about the philosophy and processes of a model that is destined for great things…
Najberg Milne news
A broad range of courses
While Najberg Milne is best known for its presentation skills courses, it has also demonstrated over the years its expertise in addressing a number of different business needs. Take a tour around our case studies: https://www.najbergmilne.com/case-study/overseas/
The link of the month
Finnish education: can we learn from it?
For the last ten years, Finland’s education system has been officially acknowledged as delivering some of the best results on the planet. Discover some of its unconventional methods in this article:
Contemplation = Reflection 2.0
Stripped of its religious or aesthetic connotations, contemplation can become a formidable tool for reflection and creativity. Wikipedia defines it as “profound thinking about something”. Pragmatically, here is what we suggest.
Find yourself a place where you feel comfortable and relaxed, free from any stress or pressure. Take some slow, deep breaths, and let your mind settle. Then, on the black screen in your head, hang the idea or the problem that you’d like to consider. And that’s it. Do nothing, do not lead your thinking in one direction or another. Simply let the idea unfold and call forth connections by itself. Do this as often as necessary until something arises – a new perspective, a solution – that triggers a sense of excitement. That’s the signal. Then start from this new place to pursue your contemplation.