Book Review “The Learner’s Journey – Storytelling as a Design Principle to Create Powerful Learning Experiences.” Written by Bastian Küntzel Review by Matthew Hill

“Identity is the story we tell ourselves”

Bastian Küntzel, Interculturalist, trainer and volunteer, has pushed himself to produce a practical book, that reflects its subject matter, is fit for purpose, and, keeps the audience engaged all the way to the end. Just like a good story.

Success – The book works. Imagine if this tome had failed to keep the reader turning the pages or left the trainer / coach / presenter more confused than when they started!

A journey to wisdom

Tone – The author adopts an intimate style with self-deprecation, revealing honesty and scattered references to Hollywood films that we all know – Harry Potter, Die Hard, Lord of the Rings, Iron Man, etc. We are drawn into this cosy fireside chat (the worked examples in the book’s appendix include old barns and wood burning stoves to add to this feeling), as we begin to join Bastian in his story and journey.

With references to the works of Daniel Kahneman, Joseph Campbell and Yuval Noah Harari, the author provides evidence that he has read widely, dived deep, and, is up to date with his sources and research. The authors are sited in footnotes at the bottom of each relevant page. A bibliography at the end would have been a nice addition.

He deconstructs their models to form his own philosophy around identity, learning, motivation and change, and, does so in a clear, rational and appealing manner.

The Hero’s Journey – We start with the 17 common elements of all stories as collected, analysed and explained by the great Joseph Campbell. With liberal reference to George Lucas who famously used Campbell’s schema to produce the most successful film franchise in the history of cinema – Star Wars, we understand why Bastian adapted the title of Campbell’s most famous work and named the book – The Learner’s Journey.

We then move to Dan Harmon’s updated and truncated model with 8 phases of the voyage.

1. Protagonist

2. Need

3. Go

4. Search

5. Find

6. Take

7. Return, &,

8. Change

The supposition is that this universal structure, found all over the world, in all cultures and throughout time, provides a robust template for training design.

To prove this point, the author spends the rest of the book matching Harmon’s stages to the student’s learning journey and suggests activities, criteria and pitfalls for each step along the way. This unique approach aims to help the classroom pupil to change, transfer and re-integrate into their workplace.

There are some fun moments – The holding of a “Fuck-up” night during an off-site multi-day training – A sort of improv, open mic session where story telling on the theme of how it all went wrong leads to bonding, positive vulnerability and the parking of egos for the duration of the course.

Criticism – Whilst the book is a light, informative and a well-intentioned effort – the model does not always fit the facts, the training purpose, or, the audience. The 3 examples at the end mostly fit but do not 100% conform to the stages of Harmon.

Audience – This book will appeal to those trainers, facilitators, teachers and coaches, that have enough experience to be able to put together a course for themselves – A beginner may be overwhelmed by having to adapt to the various stages and resign, disheartened.

Personally, I identified with the stages and found myself beginning to brainstorm activities and exercises that would fit the 8 parts and found plenty of ideas to insert into each stage.

Conclusion – This is a clean, simple and useful book that will help the passionate trainer, looking to improve or perfect their design craft to take their classroom delegate’s experience to the next level.

There are enough warnings and sorry tales contained within the pages too to act as a vicarious instruction manual for the newer designer.

All in all, The Learner’s Journey is a recommended read for the progressive and open-minded trainer who wishes to gain entry to the hearts and minds of their audience, move them emotionally, and, achieve a learning transformation that is worth reading about.

The book is accompanied by a resource centre – www.learners-journey.com and is available in Kindle and paper form.

Invitation – IÉSEG and IACCM joint conference: Intercultural competencies for a disruptive VUCA world, October, Paris

We are happy to invite you to the conference of our cooperation partner IACCM jointly organised with the IÉSEG School of Management, from 31st October 2019 to 2nd November 2019 in Paris, France.

October in Paris

IÉSEG and IACCM warmly invite submissions from both practitioners and academics alike. Different contribution formats are available to suit different approaches and content, more info online here.

All submissions must be made via Conftool (https://www.conftool.com/iaccm2019), where you will be required to choose the presentation format best suited.

Submission should follow the abstract template available online, please note that there are two templates (practitioner and academic).

Submission deadline: June.2019

AND. Did you know about our available student bursaries?
Our student bursary awards are for students and early career scholars who have submissions accepted for presentation at the IACCM-IESEG2019 Conference.

Application deadline: June.2019

How to apply? All details can be found online here.

All enquiries on bursary applications (subject: student bursary) should be directed to Dr. Barbara Covarrubias Venegas: barbara.covarrubias@fh-wien.ac.at

Please like & share with your intercultural community – We’d love to see you in Paris!

best wishes,
Dr. Barbara Covarrubias Venegas
Secretary General
IACCM & Conference Chair

Conference Webpage: https://iaccm-congress.ieseg.fr

Matthew’s SIETAR Europa Congress Leuven Report! #SIETAR #Congress #Leuven

Or, We are a normal family…aren’t we??

What a Week

A week at the SIETAR Europa Congress 2019 in Leuven has fed our collective brains, hearts, stomachs and livers (if a liver can be fed.)

Overall, the event was a great success lead by Outgoing President, Joyce Jenkins. Joyce is the definition of an inclusive leader – combining leadership with latitude to develop purpose in an enthusiastic tribe of followers, ready to sweat a little, get creative, make decisions and get stuck in. There were many many dramas along the way (town, venue, gala, menus, rooms, people, tickets, buses, etc, etc.) And the lunches – we will get to that later. The end result was the transfer of much wisdom to a large group of intercultural enthusiasts in an effective manner in a beautiful town that was fit for purpose (Muntstraat had end-to-end restaurants and easily contained the learning hordes.)

The Leuven Town Hall Reception

Diversity and Inclusion

The inspired suggestion for this year’s Congress theme gave the amorphous and sometimes stagnant essentialist version of culture something substantial to work with and the results were impressive. Inclusion is where the rubber meets the road and the presenters with practitioner experience brought their experiences to life in a unique and memorable way for many of us. The topics of colour, racism, LGBTQ, as well as the prejudiced brain, polarisation and ethics got traction and the attention of this, sometimes, critical SIETARian crowd.

Quality – Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk

When I drew attention to the frequent lack of original content and questionable quality of some presenting seen in the Dublin sessions and keynotes of 2017, I was unfriended by some pretty big names – Sometimes the truth is painful to hear.

I am happy to report (not just so that you stay friends!) that both content and presentation quality seem to have bounced back to the Valencia standard of 2015.

Working hard to find the PURPOSE of SIETAR!

The selection of papers for inclusion in the programme was BLIND – If ever an event was aligned with its topic, this has to be proof positive of that healthy intent. – A bi-product of this meritocratic process was that some big names where not on the programme.

Whilst there are still issues – Keynote speakers reading from their papers in “monotone”, some under rehearsed sessions with avoidable errors and the like – Speaking personally, I only had one sub-par experience during the whole event.

Super Stars

It was a very broad programme with up to 9 simultaneous choices at any one time, so I can only talk about the ones that I witnessed first hand.

***Shannon Murphy Robinson – An easily accessible introduction to the neuroscience of bias, culture and behaviour. Educational.

***Seyda Kutsal – Buurman – Giving regular folk (outside the police force) a chance to experience the strong feelings generated by the Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes experiment for themselves. Profound.

***Christoph Bader – Bringing something NEW to Brexit / Trump / Popularism! That is rare these days – Using the vehicle of collective memory, we were asked to apply its cult-like methods to the “other side” and come up with some pithy slogans to balance out fake news – Therapeutic.

***Christine Wirths and Lies Wouters – Digital learning – Giving us the chance, with a real case, to come up with our own attempts at constructing a digital learning programme – Inspiring and encouraging.

***Jackie van der Kroft – Reliably excellent, Jackie took us beyond conflict to the anatomy and mitigation of polarisation and asked us to apply some suggested methods in our own world. Outstanding.

***Monika de Waal, Natasha Aruliah & Henning Zorn – Sharing their life stories as 3 “outsiders”, trialogues around difference and discussions of feelings and implications – A richly experiential event.

***Alan Richter – Using ethical dilemmas and dramas and asking us to unpick them and choose a response – our results were then compared with global data and analysed. – The slickest show in town! And, finally,

***Sue Shinomiya – Ikigai – Finding one’s life’s purpose – The perfect post Gala session – Engaging enough to keep everyone zoned in, beautiful enough not to over challenge our fragile state. Elegant.

Sue Shimoniya – Ikigai

***Films – A reduced film track curated by a knowledgeable team and with the chance to see the most popular ones again on day 3. Moving.

Confession

I am sorry to say I missed the “Obama-like” opener with Leuven Mayor, Mohamed Ridouani. My loss.

Challenges – The vast voluntary team had much to cope with, not least their own size – Steering committee – 10, Congress team – 21 and Assistants – 12 (You probably need another committee to handle all of the 43+ volunteers!!!)

Great minds, and me…

The venue – The concrete medical school was funky though not always fit for purpose – Arriving at the hospital entrance (never trust a taxi driver who says, “Ah, yes, I know exactly where that is…”) we went past real medical patients, walked along many corridors only to be finally denied by a double set of locked doors – Signalling with my mobile phone light attracted the attention of the people in the registration hall but they could not blow the locks on the doors (a competence beyond university professors it seems.)

The Lunches – Yes we are finally here. Let us reframe this moment to get most benefit from our collective experience – The lunches were a bonding disaster that unified a diverse crowd in a common complaint. I am put in mind of an old Jewish joke about Catskills catering – “The food is horrible here –  And, such small portions.” And it did not matter – It lead to some hilarious survivor behaviour with charismatic SIETARian explorers attempting to bribe, influence and persuade KU Leuven medical students to buy canteen lunches for them – with mixed results.

Gala – In the end we all survived, ate and laughed. Apparently, the first choice venue went bankrupt before our event so a few brave souls found the substitute venue and persuaded them to host the do. The last minute instruction to select our food choices meant that, inevitably, many did not see the e mail and respond in time with their input. For them it was a fixed menu. But no more moaning – IT WAS A FREE OPEN BAR WITH BELGIUM BEER! – Come on.

With Natasha Aruliah and Kelli McLoud – Shingen and me.

In Conclusion

Where else can you guarantee bonfemmie and bonhomie like that? (New Word – bonfemmie!!) Is there anywhere like a SIETAR Europa Congress as a place where you can tell your story and be respected, included and truly heard? – I don’t think so. We have something precious here that is safe, user friendly and staffed entirely (with two exceptions) by volunteers. Wow.

matthew hill sietar leuven
Paul Westlake, Steve Crawford and George Simons

Thanks

Thanks to the steering committee of 10, the 21 strong congress team and, especially, to the 12 hard-working assistants.

Next

See you in Malta, May 2021.

P.S. – I promised to set up a Collaboration workspace after my interactive Collaboration session on day 2 at the Congress – Watch this space on Culture99 and do feel free to join in the exchange, ask questions, contribute and continue the dialogue about getting to collaboration within your organisation and spreading it to other work and community spaces too. Thanks, Matthew

Deep Culture or Cult? Are you being lured into a CULT? – How Everyday Cults Draw In Intelligent People.

 It’s never too early to sidestep a cult

We don’t have to stretch and think of Waco, ISIS or the Moonies to find examples of Cult recruitment methods at work today. There will be many attempts to recruit you this year, much closer to home.

Whether it is Veganism, Brexit, continued support for Trump’s wall, Sci-entol-ogy, The NRA or Jehovah’s Witness – All have disturbing aspects of a Cult and we need to be more aware of the mechanisms they employ to protect ourself and our loved ones from being inducted against our conscious will.

BTW – If you are part of one of these groups, reading this article will in no way change you. Your programming will enable you to easily resist the 5 points below – In fact you will have already been inoculated against anything in written form that calls your group a cult. And, articles such as this one will drive you in deeper as they act as proof that the “enemy without” exists, thus reinforcing your commitment to your group.

Bizarrely, it is the phenomenon of your inoculation that forms part of the proof that your group is… a cult.

arrow of crowds

5 False assumptions about cults.

We think of US extremes and people being taken away from their families, being brainwashed to reject all outside communication and performing any act to support and show loyalty to their charismatic leaders – Including bringing in cash and actively recruiting new members. Yes that describes the obvious destructive cult, but be warned, there are other versions that can be equally bad for your rights, your agile mind and your future.

  1. Destructive Cults only prey on the weak – As you sit amongst your small family, reading a newspaper that is supposedly part of the free press, you may feel pity for the poor saps sucked into some a remote compound or made to sleep with their cult leader.

But, is it time the alarm went off? Actually, the sick, simple and poorest in our community are not the main target of cult recruitment. It is YOU. The hypnotic mechanisms of an effective cult induction programme are, actually, reasonably sophisticated and work best on the educated mind. Most dangerous is the thought that your education is sufficient to protect you from cult messages or you will never be inducted into a cult because you live your life exercising choices, freedom and your wits. Remember. there are those that went to investigate and never came back…

  1. Negative force is used in the recruitment process for cults

Whilst the mechanisms are manipulative and powerful, force is not normally part of the initial process. The opposite is the case. Love, energy and acknowledgement of the individual are the tools that will attract you in at the beginning (You will be enslaved later.) In my work with corporations as a soft skills trainer, I see that tough love by management is used as part of a behavioural regime of intermittent behavioural reinforcement, that conditions executives to work extra hard, buy into stretch goals and sacrifice more of their free time and other choices in the service of the main corporate mission and a big company vision.

With cults, a dirtier and more subversive version of this happens later in the conversion process and cult induction journey. To start with, the targeted individual is showered with praise, positive affirmation and is deliberately encouraged to feel fabulous and great about themself. This aims to break down the barriers that any sane individual would have when contemplating joining a band of isolated extremists.

The subtle part of the process then follows. The target passes through a barely noticeable series of non-return doors. These suck the prey in and make resistance difficult. Think about yourself at this point. You are really nice, middle class, and an educated person. With a good level of self-worth? So, what will it be difficult for you to do in these surroundings – being showered with love by decent and, supposedly, like-minded people? The answer – Be rude, ask challenging questions, get angry or walk out. (For the Brits it is, “I didn’t want to make a fuss.” This allows the brainwashing to take hold…

  1. They keep you there by force

The mechanisms of the one-way route during your induction into a cult are ingenious by design. Once your mind has flipped over from resister to congruent follower, You will be filled with a simplified alternative version of reality and “educated” that all other ways are not just wrong but that they threaten the existence of the cult itself. Brilliant gas lighting. When you are fully under the spell of the cult, you will eventually be trusted to venture out on your own. You will be theoretically free to run away – but you will not.

hand in jail

And, it is YOUR mind that will keep you there.

You will, by this stage, super-believe in the tenants of the cult. Hour upon hour of repetition of the key cult messages and models will have worn you down and ensured your compliance with the beliefs of the cult group. And, you will be super-inoculated against all attempts by outsiders to rationalise with you, contact you or plead with you to leave.

So clever is the communication strategy, that the more you plead the more the new cult recruit will smile and say, “They said you would say that.” Evil genius – Your newly brainwashed logic circuits will assign the role of “testing your faith” to outsiders where their pleas make you an active participant in maintaining the cult’s parallel universe. The outsider’s logic will ensure the new cult recruit now believes that the all-wise cult leader was RIGHT all along!!! In a twisted way – you have to admire their dirty craft.

  1. I live in a democracy and am, therefore, immune from cult recruitment

No, there will be a point in your life when you will be vulnerable. This will come when you are in a state of emotional flux – The death of a parent / child / friend, divorce, recovering from long illness or after being made redundant.

At this point in your life journey, your normal programming about, “Life being fair” or “You get out what you put in” etc. will fail you. In this moment there will be no easy answers at hand. It is now that you will find yourself most open to external warmth, love and the “meaning” of a cult. This is when their powerful weapons of persuasion will work best on you.

Your uncertainty and doubt is their opportunity.

Think of young offenders in prison – lonely, frightened and confused – perfect fodder for the clear, simple story of a radial preacher – Providing a richer context and narrative for their poor and low value lives. It is almost too easy.

  1. Charisma won’t work on me – I am too rational

People are not rational. That is a myth. We buy emotionally, hate irrationally and our fears can be manufactured quickly, grown cheaply and exploited simply. We are herd animals with the additional hindrance of actively seeking out stories, membership to tribes and having a desperate need to be loved and approved of.

Time and again in Europe, South America and the USA, a population has been swept away by a charismatic leader, only to pay a great cost later. Cult mechanism fuelled the growth of Soviet communism, Chinese communism, Nazi propaganda, the messages of Brexit, and, the divisive communications of British Trade Unions in the 1970’s and the persuasion of the many to give up so much for the benefit of the few. (- please note the balance.)

A Cult Leader

A great public speaker, who understands rhetoric and the key fears of their target audience, can quickly work out, practice and find a platform to deliver cult promises representing a clear and simple alternative to the current state of business.

You too can become a cult leader…

You could do it yourself – Just jot down all the complaints of your community (no matter the actual origin), work out which faction to blame (it does not have to be this targeted group’s fault), come up with a simple alternative reality (it does not have to work) and, hey presto – You have a cult and a speech that will definitely start to draw people in and have them loyally follow you.

You will grab the hearts, minds and wallets of the people who resonate with your list of rapidly cobbled together complaints – just about every time.

For good or evil, a repeated message of clarity, simplicity and improvement works – Obama’s “Yes we can”, Blair’s “For the people”, May’s “The will of the people”, Trump’s “We are going to build a wall”, Thatcher’s “No one has to remain working class – vote for me and your can own your own home”, or, Boris and Dominic Cummings’ “Take back control and save the NHS with lots of money we currently pay to the EU.”

Irony

It is so much easier to start a cult than fix real core problems. Problems are

complex, multi-sourced and require intelligent consensus, time, money and commitment from a disparate range of stakeholders. Gathering the necessary support requires… a compelling vision, a charismatic speaker and the recruitment of followers. OMG – we are back here again!

And a democracy (multiple groups having a say and being listened to) makes it much easier for one strong and clear alternative cult guru’s voice to be heard and followed.

Irony stacked upon irony

And once in, there is no quick way out. Rational debate is not possible. The time for listening will be over. Facts will fail.

For the cult member, the need and desire to stay congruent with the cult’s key messages, to feel consistent, loyal and belong to the cult in-group, requires violent rejection of logic and all alternatives. And, more – Rejecting, even the possibility, that their cult might have got it wrong.

And it is this dynamic that generates aggressive words, physical intimidation, lawyers letters, or, at its most miserable extreme, fighting to the death in a foreign land, whilst deluding yourself that you are dying for something valid and real, and, you are dying as a sainted martyr.

Man ear listening, copy space background

Stay vigilant people

Your next cult recruitment message promising a good and simple alternative the complex issues we face today will be coming your way today or tomorrow. Wake up and smell the coffee before you end up being asked to drink the Kool-Aid!

 About the Author

Matthew Hill is an Intercultural Trainer, Speaker and Marketeer.

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“A blank slate? Brain Science and Cultures” Florence, 4 – 6th April 2019

Roberto Ruffino reminds us that registration is now open for this important International conference taking place in Florence on 4th to 6th April 2019, Please visit the conference site;

PROGRAMME  – A BLANK SLATE?

NEUROSCIENZE E CULTURE / BRAIN SCIENCE AND CULTURES

AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

Florence Firenze, 4th-6th April 2019 

Thursday 4th April (3.00-6.00 pm) – Inaugural session

Palazzo Vecchio, Salone dei Cinquecento

Roberto Ruffino, Fondazione Intercultura                    Benvenuto/Welcome

Issues about the transfer of culture

Steven Pinker, Harvard University                                The Blank Slate  (video presentation)

Lamberto Maffei, Università di Pisa                            Guardare, vedere, immagini del tempo

Peter Richerson, University of California                     Not by Genes Alone: How Culture

Transformed Human Evolution

Martin Gessmann, Hochschule fur Gestaltung                         Mind Meets Brain: The True Impact of Neuroscience Offenbach am Main                                                     on Philosophy

Mai Nguyen Phuong Mai, Amsterdam University          There is no blank slate. The role of genes,

neurons, behaviour and geography in the

reshaping of cultures

Panel Discussion (9.00 pm)

Firenze, Hotel Mediterraneo, Centro Congressi

Milton Bennett IDRI Institute – Ying-yi Hong, Chinese University of Hong Kong:

A debate “Culture, Cognition, and Consciousness”

Friday 5th April (all day) – Parallel Workshops

Firenze, Hotel Mediterraneo, Centro Congressi

09.00 -11.00 – We are all human beings

Shalom H. Schwartz, University of Jerusalem              Universal values across cultures

Lilach Sagiv, Hebrew University Jerusalem

Richard Nisbett, University of Michigan                      Culture, genes and intelligence

Andrea Moro, Scuola Univ Sup. IUSS Pavia                Sintassi, cervello e lingue impossibili

Alberto Piazza, Università di Torino                            La conservazione della memoria genetica

Giuseppe Mantovani, Universià di Padova                  L’educazione interculturale al tempo dei sovranismi

con Simone Giusti                                                     Storia globale e traduzione nella scuola

Mark Pagel, University of Reading                               Origins of the Human Social Mind

Adriano Favole, Università di Torino                           Nature e Culture: l’irriducibile pluralità

Stefano Allovio, Università Statale di Milano              dell’umano

11.30 -13.30 – Cultures and the unconscious

Sudhir Kakar, Psychoanalyst, Goa                               Cultures and Psyche

Paolo Inghilleri, Università di Milano                          La cultura e i geni non si trasmettono da soli:

il ruolo della mente

Hannah Monyer, University of Heidelberg                   Brain Plasticity and Memory

Giacomo Rizzolatti, Università di Parma                       La doppia vita delle espressioni emozionali

Fausto Caruana, Università di Parma

Neil Levy, Macquarie University           Sydney              Neuro-ethics

Shinobu Kitayama, University of Michigan                    Interaction between culture and brain

Romano Madera, Universita di Milano Bicocca             Dalla pseudospeciazione al capro espiatorio

15.00 -17.00 – Cervello, coscienza, culture/Brain, consciousness and cultures

David Sloane Wilson, Binghamton University              Cultural evolution is a blank slate in the same way                                                                              as other evolutionary processes

Joseph Shaules, Juntedo University                            A Deep Culture Approach to Intercultural Learning:                                                                            Culture Cognition and the Intuitive Mind

Milena Santerini, Università Cattolica Milano             Educazione morale e neuroscienze

Franco Fabbro, Università di Udine                             Basi neuropsicologiche dell’esperienza religiosa

Marcello Massimini, Università di Milano                    Definire e misurare il valore dello stato di coscienza

Guido Barbujani, Università di Ferrara                                    L’invenzione delle razze

Saturday 6th April (morning) – Plenary session

Firenze, Hotel Mediterraneo, Centro Congressi

  • Video-summary of items from previous day’s                                                                           workshops
  • Dialogo su culture, cervello, geni e valori/ A dialogue                                                                        on cultures, brain, genes and values:
  • Ian Tattersall, NY Museum of Natural History
  • Susanna Mantovani, Università di Milano Bicocca
  • Francesco Cavalli Sforza, Università San Raffaele di Milano

12.00-13.00                                                                 Wrap up and Conclusions

  • Roberto Toscano, Presidente Fondazione Intercultura

Conference Speaker Marketing Tips – Getting Ready For Your Star Turn As A Conference Speaker

Conference Speaker Homework and Pre-Work

The biggest single opportunity for any freelancer is to be found on stage. When you are invited to speak, there will be plenty to preparatory work to get on with. It is not just about getting your presentation in tip-top condition for maximum impact and return. There is content creation, marketing and relationship warming, ahead of your gig, to consider too.

Here are 8 things to concentrate upon when you have received that special call.

  1. Your profile for the event (and on LinkedIn too.) Most people will have a medium to long list of institutions, qualifications and achievements for the poor conference delegate to wade through. THIS MISSES THE POINT. Your speaker profile can be a brochure not just your CV. The opportunity here is to market yourself to get known. Why not connect to your audience ahead of time with a pitch that is authentic and penetrating. Something like…

PITCH PROFILE “I help (specific target audience within the general conference audience) to achieve (their specific desired and needed outcome / result) by providing (unique and differentiated services with personality, power and a twist). I have worked with (global customer 1, regional customer 2 and local customer 3) and worked (in a way that is unique, exciting and positive).

  1. Honing Your Content to Post On-Line – You will have, at the heart of your experience, extraordinary solutions, methods and ideas that can really accelerate the progress of your customers. Now is the time to dig out and re-write the best of your past published efforts and re-purpose them for your fresh conference audience. What do these new prospects fear, lack or not know? What do they need to do, know or change? Get that content out there on social media and, particularly, on the channel where the event is being actively promoted.
  2. Database – I have said this many times – “If you don’t have a database then you don’t have a business.” Do you have a database? Are they all opted in, legal and GDPR compliant? AND, have you segmented them into HOTS, warms and colds? Now is the time to do that.

At the conference itself, you can meet people, collect their cards, if they qualify, and ask permission to send them a P4P – Product4Prospect – An informational gift that is brief and of perceived value to your new contact. This ticks the box for opting in, creating a sense of reciprocity and helps establish you as a generous expert. There are two forms of doing this – the product and the newsletter.

Developing new strategy.

  1. P4P Product – This might be in the form of a helpful tips sheet, a white paper, a tick sheet (have you done the following?) or a link to a film or resource bank that you control. It should be brief, relevant and have your mark and contact details on it, along with suggested next steps i.e. A Call To Action – CTA.
  2. Newsletter – The majority of people I work with do not START out with a newsletter and I understand why. It appears to be a lot of work. And, they will only have 10 people to send it to, etc. etc.

Now let’s get down to content creation. Do we really have to make such a big deal out of it? From conversations you have held in the last 90 days, what were the topics that revved up your passion levels? What did you read that set you alight? These are the topics to write 250 or 500 words on. Just two posts will be fine for now. Turning the top tips sheet accompanying your speech into the a meaty first newsletter post makes a lot of obvious sense too.

  1. Fill Your Table – I have written elsewhere about filling your blue velvet event table with content, if you have been allocated one. This will help establish you as credible, an expert and being ready to deliver.
  2. Share specialist content. As with point 2., you need to fill the right channels with quality content. It does not, however, all have to be your own. When you curate the content of other people, you gain a little reflected glory from these other specialists and their magical words. And, you gain brownie points for saving people the bother of looking it up themselves. Simply find the best material out there, add some intelligent analysis on top and post it. You will then be seen as better by association.
  3. Capture your assets. The first time you do this before a conference speech, it will seem like a lot of work. Find the golden hour slot in your day, when your brain works at its best and block out that space, EVERY day for one, two or three weeks until your preparation is complete.

And, do create a space where you can store all of the IP and marketing collateral that you have just created, to be adapted quickly and used next time. The next time you run through this process before a conference speech, it will take only HALF the time and your materials will become richer and more focused, serving the needs and gaps that your audience are crying out for you to help them with.

Action

So what will you do now?

Call Matthew on 0754065 9995 for a 15-minute coaching session (no c ost and no obligation) if you are serious about making the most of your next conference speaking invitation.

 

What Marketing Do You Need To Think About NOW To Have A Great 2019?

Now is the time to build your returns next year

Whether you are an independent Intercultural Trainer, Coach or Mediator, It is what you think about and prepare this year, that will determine your business results next year. And, a moment’s pause over the Christmas break will definitely be too little and too late. Now is the time to do some deeper work.

4 Marketing Areas to Consider – Identity, Audience, Product & Tribe

Young women planning vacation trip and searching information

It’s what you do this year that will make the difference next year

1) Identity – Imagine you are in a taxi, driving away from your best day in 2019. Yes imagine it. I have a philosophical question for you. You look down at the 10 / 10 feedback. Great. You feel sweaty and fabulous. You know that you just peaked back there. You are in flow and buzzing.

So,

Who were you? What persona or aspects of YOU were you choosing to emphasise? What part of your essence did you connect with your participants in order to feel this good? What did you draw upon from your experience to light up that room?

Are you thinking of the answer? – I hope so – Because that is your winning commercial identity for 2019…

2) Audience – If you had to pick just one recipient type for the whole of 2019 and stick to it, what facets would become important to you? What would you demand was in the room? What character / background / education and demographic would be most exciting for you to work with? Who would keep you excited as a trainer / coach / mediator? Who would bring out the best in you? Who would benefit the most from your life experience and expertise? Who would you make shine?

Got it? Found it? Zoned in on it? Do you want to own that space? Do you want to go deep and be THE EXPERT here?

That is your ideal audience for 2019.

3) Product – You have a little time to repurpose your life experience, training and education into whatever form you wish. What will suit you best? – Classroom / webinar / virtual coaching / blog channel / public speaking from a stage / pre-recorded remote E Learning package / book / film / audio?

Technology is rushing toward us and eliminating complexity, cost and many barriers to entry.

Almost anybody today can make almost anything.

So what form will your offer take in 2019 and what do you need to line up now to make that happen? What do you need to learn about? What do you need to prepare? Who do you need to rope in to help? Where will you make this splendid thing? What time, money and effort will you invest in the project?

That will be your new product for 2019.

4) Tribe – No, I am not repeating 2) – That was your avatar. Tribe / crowd / list / database / contact list / warms – These are names of the new people who will become your paying customers in 2019. Today, many do not know you exist. When you get your marketing right, they will come to you, listen to you, get to know you, like you, trust you, purchase a product or service from you.

AND,

If you really get it right, they will pay what you ask and do what you say!!!!

Marketing to build your tribe – So, how will you interrupt people this year? How will you get their attention? How will you bond with them? What will you give to them first to gain their trust? What small offering will you provide to move them from being critical observers to becoming first-time customers? And, what follow-up offering will you make to bring them all the way in? And, what second offering will you create to keep them as valued customers?

The winners next year will work on their marketing THIS YEAR. So, what are waiting for? What are you going to do today?

Call Matthew for a 15-minute coaching (no cost and no obligation) if you need a little help in narrowing down your answers to the questions above. 07540 65 9995

Thanks and here’s wishing you a really strong 2019.

Credibility Part 2 – The 11 Essential Components – How many do you have? by Matthew Hill

If you haven’t got cred, why get out of bed?

Whether you are a university professor battling your painful way up the academic ladder, an independent trainer providing stimulating sessions in a classroom, or, a coach drumming up new clients, there will be one thing that walks into the room before you do Your Credibility.

It is the label that attaches to you. If you are late for a dinner party or social gathering you will be introduced with that label or property – “Sarah Smith is coming, you know, the one who XXX.” Where XXX represents your reputation / key knowledge asset or the story that sticks to you most.

In the next post – Credibility Part 3, we will outline the key actions you must take in order to boost your credibility to the max and escape any negative aspect of your reputation that is holding you back.

So, what are the components of your credibility? Let us skim the surface with just 11.

*1. Skills and competence – We would not be having this conversation if you were not talented, brimming with potential and waiting to add value to various groups and communities. It is the things you know, can apply and that have an effect that are important.

red vector bubble banner credibility

Skill after skill after skill

Action – Make a note of all the skills, competences and value you have and can bring to a group. When you carry out this exercise with true diligence, the breadth of your list may surprise you.

  1. Benevolent energy – Basically are you a nice person, doing nice things for people who have a clear need? It is the opposite of malevolence – wanting something bad to a happen to a group of people – Imagine the rare instance of a racist politician (hard though that is to imagine.)

Action – Take a brief look in the mirror and ask yourself if you want something good for your target audience? We wish you well with your answer.

  1. Consistency – When you keep your promise, show up on time and deliver results, your credibility will skyrocket. It is simple, though many fail to recognize the importance of this component.

Action – Honesty test – Are you a woman / man of your word?

  1. Look and smell like a winner. As I write this piece it is London Fashion Week (It seems like it always is.) Magazines, Hollywood gossip or Friday night at the pub – The focus is on outer appearance. We are simple forest creatures and we pick our mates and leaders visually. So, you do need to look the part. Tall people do better. Blondes outscore brunettes and bald men are paid less that the lion maned – Nobody said life was fair.

Action – I did attend a serious conference in Germany a few years back that included a specialist on this topic and she concluded that we should all rush out and get a lift, tuck and liposuction! Food for thought…

  1. Eloquent Connecters – We have included two components here for expediency. If you can start with your audience – Work out who they are and communicate effectively with them, you will gain great credibility rapidly. It is less about you and more about them. On top of this if you have a memorable and effective public speaking style, then you will gain bonus credibility points and will experience more control over your own destiny.

Action – Study influencing techniques, learn advanced presentation skills and book yourself some singing lessons this week.

  1. Quality – “Good is not longer good enough. You now have to be remarkable.” (Seth Godin) Excellence is the new normal and we all have to step up in ALL areas. Charm will take you just so far (my spelling mistakes are charming to all those who are not full-on OCD.) Taking your work and output to a new level of accuracy, depth and style will make a big difference.

Action – Use editors and designers, and, practice your pitch in front of constructive critics to take your game up a level.

excellence award - red blurred stamp

At the top of your game

  1. Be a problem solver (and not the problem) The parenthesise refer to Princes and Princess who are perceived as being high maintenance. This becomes their label and overshadows talent, value and core message. There is nothing more attractive to an audience than a fixer, travelling through work and life being willing and able to untangle cables, solve the issue with the numbers, and, move on to deliver results, solve the puzzle and allow others to win.

Action – Please attempt to be user friendly. Practice root cause analysis and problem solving. Learn how the world works and give away your victories.

  1. Reframe pessimism as optimism – Are you a radiator or a drain? Do you suck the life out of a room or illuminate the space in front of you? When you replace low energy passivity with realistic enthusiasm, you will be loved. When you take the negative and reframe it positively, you will be respected. It is easy to join in with a depressed bunch and chime in with the collective moaning – misery loves company. Please do not be tempted to do this. It will become your label. Whinging Winston / Wendy. Nobody will want you at their party.

Action – Practice reframing low energy, blocked and negative group input constructively and positively, adding energy and inspiration into the mix for good measure.

  1. Become the Go To Expert GTE – Taking a couple of the points above, there is a space waiting for you as a Subject Matter Expert – SME. This is about depth and breadth –Mastery of content. When you get there you will, automatically become the GO TO EXPERT person. Is that what you crave? Can you handle the pressure? Are you prepared to step up, take on the role? And deliver?

Action – Study, learn, read, ask to become an SME in your chosen field.

The Winnr is...

  1. Opinion Leader – Subtly different from point 9. Being an OL is a specific role that combines expertise with communication. It is the embodiment of Credibility in action. It actively connects the value that you have with the attention, need and desire of your audience to engage with you, follow you, relate to your purpose and DO WHAT YOU SUGGEST. When you are at this level (the top of the mountain), you will have the power to drive audiences to take meaningful action. You will be able to direct attention to a fruitful and ethical agenda, and, you will be able to make a leveraged difference through the crowd you have gathered. It is an awesome space with a large quotient of moral responsibility. SO – PLEASE – USE YOUR PLATFORM WISELY.

Action – Decide upon a utilitarian path, do the work to get to the top, use your powers for good, and, DO NOT BELIEVE ALL THE HYPE.

Conclusion

You will have noticed the common themes of selflessness, great communication, inclusion of others, putting in the work and keeping to an ethical stance. The rest is up to you.

Question – What will precede you into the room in one year’s time? That depends on what you start doing now.

About the Author – Matthew Hill is a trainer, coach, facilitator, author, public speaker and broadcaster, helping executives and leaders to uncover their soft skills talent, strengthen their competences and, whilst reaching their own potential, benefit their teams and their environment.

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Collaboration Post 2 – 4 Tools To Create Constructive Collaboration by Matthew Hill

Most people, most of the time, are not in collaboration mode – they are pursuing a totally different agenda

Tool 1 Active Listening

Before you dismiss this with a, “ ‘been there, done that, know it all already!” (that would indicate that you are overdue for a listening refresher course), let us remind ourselves that most people, most of the time are not listening actively. They are more likely to be;

*Waiting their turn to give their version of what has just been said, and, if they are super competitive, to story top and WIN! This is not active listening.

Team

Selfless Working

*Asking WIIFM? “What’s in it for me?” This person mines your data looking to extract personal gain and advantage from your content. It is a search function akin to selective attention. Test this by throwing in some test words, “Sex, beer and Netflix” and watch thier reaction. When they twitch they will know you are on to them. This is not an empathic activity.

*I know best. The Listening Observer Critic sits high up, even whilst standing, and allows their privilege to leak out with advice, constructive (or undermining) criticism to let you know that they are just a little bit better than you. These people lack empathy and their contribution may leave a bitter residue.

And now the real thing – Active Listening

The missing elements include;

*First attempting a broad understanding of what is being said and then taking a further empathic step – to understand the speaker as the SPEAKER intends to be understood. This is the Platinum level of listening.

*Psychological proof. This stage is not attained by the listener repeating what they have heard. A smart phone can do that. They are tasked with processing the information from their own perspective, attempting empathy and seeing the matter from the speaker’s Point of View – POV and, then, expressing what they think they have heard. Here we may add, checking for clarity and the confirming the intention component as well. This will sound like, “So, IF I have understood you correctly, I heard XXX. Is that the message you wished me to receive?”

*Letting them finish. The talking stick remains with the speaker for as long as they wish so they finally can feel they have said their piece.

Shocked girl eavesdropping.

Listening?

Miracle

The first time you try these ideas out with a passionate person, the results may overwhelm both them and you. This may be the first occasion when they have actually felt listened too with respect, depth and acknowledgement.

Good luck

Tool 2. Point of View – POV

This is a POV and reconciliation exercise that can be practiced as a training exercise and then used in real conversations. The training version is simple. Split the group into 3s. The first person takes the role of Finance Director, the second, New Young Executive and the third, the Project Delivery Leader. The context is set – The 3 of you are discussing the progress of a critical 90-day work project for your Golden Goose customer. As it stands, you are not going to hit either the quality mark or the tight deadline. Q. What do you do? The suggestion that you are now going to form an opinion on is; PAID OVERTIME. Are you for it or against it in this instance?

+ The first task is for the 3 to get into character and give a one-line opinion, yes or no, with, maybe, one line of explanation.

The answers are normally the expected ones – The Finance Director says, “The new money is not in the budget – No,” Etc.

+ The second task is to work out a strategy for how to reconcile the 3 points of view to reach the required quality standard, and, put in enough work hours to finish the job and end before the deadline.

There normally follows some creative thinking, challenge to opposing positions and a reconciliation that ends come up with a strategy that is, 1) paid for, 2) creates more hours of labour to complete the project, and, 3) can be agreed upon by the 3 people in the discussion.

This exercises mirrors what is required of a Collaborative Working Group – the robust exchange of truths, creating options, reconciling differences and mobilising around a common outcome to stay focused on the task, and, not get distracted by difference.

Once the training version has been completed it is time to have a go in the BWW – The Big Wide World.

Tool 3. Letting Go of Defensiveness

If there were just one freeing exercise that was mandatory for all boards, groups and committees, this would be it. Humans are emotional, primal and full of fear. It is mostly misdirected fear around the participant’s core needs not being met that causes so much grief and delay.

Group Of Young Business People

Stop crossing your arms!

When a board member’s core needs are threatened, defensiveness can easily follow. The 3 needs are;

*Significance – Privilege, status, power, importance or position – When this is threatened or exposed, defensiveness will never be far behind.

*Competence – Another key component of a board member’s identity tool kit is their ability and skill level. When this is challenged, called into questioned or undermined in real time, defensive will surely follow.

*Likable – To generalise – We all have a deep deep desire to be admired, liked and approved of. It is a critical part of most of us and the one need that is examined the most – “Do they like me?” “Will they like me?” “Am I being likable now?” Etc.

How does defensiveness manifest? We can make progress when we spot the symptoms of defensiveness, spot them early and interrupt the negative behaviour that will inevitably follow.

Examples include; plunging into sulky silence, The “poor me” victim script, All or nothing, polarised thinking, wanting and needing to be right, spreading the blame or shame, experiencing a sudden drop in IQ, experiencing energy ripping through the body, doom mongering / catastrophizing, needing the last word, obsessive thinking, Needing to pour out information or saying, “I don’t really get defensive.”

Action – With self-awareness, each board / committee member can learn to notice their own pattern of moving into defensiveness. The next move it to interrupt that normal course of events, reset, and, move in a different direction.

If you start to witter when you feel attacked – Stop, centre yourself and remain silent. If you suffer a drop in IQ, stop and focus on an intelligence enhancing strategy such as collecting symptoms from the recent conversations and attempting to derive a root cause that can be dealt with. If you feel like pointing the finger, interrupt yourself and focus on environmental causes not ones originating for any individual in the room. And so on.

Tool 4 The Licenced Pessimist

If you are familiar with Edward De Bono’s Six Hat Thinking Model, you will know that the Black Hat is tasked with thinking of the biggest risks and the worst outcomes. This function is essential if a group is to combat GROUPTHINK. Groupthink happens when overly homogenous groups, often lead by a strong or charismatic leader, get behind an idea and really go for it. When it is a particularly extreme point of view, risk management goes out the window and, suddenly, something bizarre ends up being carried out by an enthusiastic lynch mob. Remember the HSBC credit officer who saw the 2007 subprime loan property disaster unfolding in the US and spoke up. He was fired by the group-thinking board and disaster followed shortly after.

Asking people to rotate and take a turn to act as the devil’s advocate is a great way to stress test all ideas, and challenge all assumptions before bad outcomes occur.

Hint – It is best to keep rotating this role through the group or an unconscious bias will grow and that single Black Hat will begin to be seen as not playing a useful role but OWNING their tasked negative perspective permanently.

Conclusion

We hope you have benefited from these 4 tools and ideas and will implement them with your committees, boards and teams.

Please like and share if you are going to take action or think others could benefit from this input. Thank you.

About the Author – Matthew Hill is a trainer, facilitator, coach and public speaker helping executives and leaders uncover their soft skill talents, develop their communication competences and, whilst reaching their own personal potential, help others to enjoy a better work life and great business outcomes. Contact him by telephone;  07540659995

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Book Review DIY Mediation – The Conflict Resolution Toolkit Book by Marc Reid – Review by Matthew Hill

Kill the monster whilst it is small

Marc Reid has produced something of substantial value to the wider business (and intercultural) community.

Context

The old world of HR seemed to recoil from conflict and wished to avoid all drama, only to be called back to the matter when things had escalated to a level requiring on the record, expensive and time consuming action – mainly tribunals and litigation.

Mediation and pre mediation intervention aims to kill the monster whilst it is small, keep the proceedings off the record, and, allow marginal characters to gain a voice and have their say when they are feeling aggressed, disrespected or bullied.

Easy to read and easy to apply

The book has a gentle gradient, starting with what is conflict, the stages of escalation, observed behaviours and their consequences, and, peaking with the AGREE model – a process that can be used to grab hold of the issues in an intelligent way, and, move the parties towards resolution quickly, and with minimal cost, time and residue left at the end.

Models

Marc has made a sometimes complex subject easy to follow and easy to apply. He breaks down larger topics with handy acronyms and provides completely pragmatic advise on those hard to reach areas such as remaining free of judgment and partiality. My two favourites were the 3FsFacts, Feeling and Future (when exploring the circumstances of a conflict) and the HEAR method for assertive communication – Happening – establishing events on a timeline, Effect – describing impact, Acknowledge – outlining the scenario from your point of view, and, Request – stating what you, as a mediator, would like to happen next.

Written in plain English and aimed at the average corporate HR professional, this tome will be of use to anyone in business or in a broader organisation who wishes to grasp the nettle of conflict, grow their own competence and awareness in holding challenging conversations, and, who is passionate about ethical early interventions to prevent exhausting escalations in the workplace.

No book is perfect and Marc has walked into the Mehrabian trap – taking this model as an example of how little language conveys in communication. (Mehrabian himself went to great lengths to correct this misapprehension.)

Conclusion

The book provides an accessible and vital tool for HR professionals and a wider audience who wish to move from avoidance to a more collaborative and inclusive approach to handling conflict, and, who wish to pick up and use a no nonsense approach to get the job of conflict reversal in hand in their organisation.

About the reviewer – Matthew Hill is a facilitator, trainer, speaker, author and coach working to build collaboration in international teams for the SME and Corporate sector.

Purchase

To buy the book go to Amazon UK; https://www.amazon.co.uk/DIY-Mediation-Conflict-Resolution-Toolkit/dp/1785893114/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1540458765&sr=8-1&keywords=diy+mediation+reid