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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
*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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Kill the monster whilst it is small
Marc Reid has produced something of substantial value to the wider business (and intercultural) community.
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.
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.
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 3Fs – Facts, 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.)
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.
Are we making assumptions and mistakes?
Our many many assumptions only delay the building of effective collaborative structures and getting to positive team collaboration.
The assumptions about collaboration, and, how we should all be able to instantly achieve this nirvana like state, give insights into the difficulties we face, and, they often betray our cultural origins too.
In this, the first of 3 short posts, we will explore the barriers to collaboration in order to confront them, raise self-awareness and, finally, be able to put together a blueprint for effective collaboration across place, time and difference.
10 Assumptions and Mistakes
- Its all about the goal – Action based organisations or individuals are all about starting fast and ending with the achievement of a goal – growth, profit or the production of a new object etc. Whilst this approach has been enormously effective (with only 5% of the World’s population, the US accounts for 23% of the World’s economy), the magic that creates collaboration happened between the start and finishing lines. We can easily find ourselves looking in the wrong place and focusing on the wrong things.
- Nail down the strategy – We are taking a large step closer when we talk about strategy and the HOW? How will we get there? Here, however, the focus, all too often, again, misses out the human, the relational and the emotional. The assumptions made are like an engineer in a factory – building a sausage machine, fill it with sausage meat and casings, and turn it on. We look at process and give emphasis to the technical, whilst again, overlooking the human.
- Measurement improves business – You get more of what you measure? Why? Because that is where you put your energy and attention. It is easy to manage activity, and compare input with output – Notice we are back with the sausage machine analogy. This risks drifting into Stephen Covey territory where we are super-EFFICIENT without being that EFFECTIVE. There is a critical difference we must become aware of. You can be driving in a super-efficient way – in the WRONG direction!
- Man management will get us there – So we have reached point 4. Are we finally, going to to deal with the emotional human and how we can get them to collaborate? Not quite yet! Historically, humans have been treated as muscle machines; expendable commodities whose freewill must be minimised and whose bodies must be made fast, and, whose minds must be made compliant. Take a moment and consider how obedient are you expected to be in order to continue to receive your pay? It is a little scary. There is an unwritten subtext where you must sublimate much of yourself in order for your face and behaviour to fit in.
I remember my Welsh English teacher, Taff Davies, beginning the year with exactly this metaphor. “What is the key characteristic of an efficient machine?” He asked. Silent running was the answer, he wished to extract from the class.
- Privilege – Do you notice who gets promoted? Class based advantage helps promote pale males ahead of others. This happens because of the two confidences – Theirs and ours.
Their confidence is drummed in – Noblesse oblige, duty, leadership, expectation (BTW – This is not a walk in the park – There is a large promise that must be delivered upon by our silver spooned chewing heroes.)
Our confidence comes in the form of preferring to deal with a middle class white male when it comes to anything important. We are ALL compliant in this skewed system.
Society has programmed us to accept a specific and prescribed minority as the dominant leaders in our community. This is historical, political and economic. We have spent much less time, money and energy working to create the conditions necessary for wider, productive and sustainable collaboration.
- Me me me – Either from the elite in point 5. or coming from the wide lands around them, the personal agenda of the individual can so easily compete for attention and resources as to undermine the chances of everybody playing nicely, collaborating for something worth achieving, or, the key audience being served at all. Just look at the ego of that person in your own group. You know who I mean.
- Defensive feelings – It is too easy to get passed people as machines model only to take everything personally. This leads to drama and personal battles that have little or nothing to do with the mission, the team or the service that is to be delivered. – Defensiveness is at the heart of most escalations, team malfunctions and litigation. It is a primal human reaction and will not lead to 1000 create collaborative moments.
- The oppressed marginals are included – The opposite of 5., those stuck in the margins have learnt behaviours necessary for them to exist, persist and survive. Their voice is quiet and avoids critical challenge, licenced pessimism or contributing their own innovative ideas. No risk – no punishment. That is the motto of the un-empowered came up with to keep on living.
- I don’t do bias – The problem with us humans, is that we think we are objective, intelligent and sophisticated creatures – That we are above the fray. We subconsciously dismiss the views of outsiders, outliers and those not in our gang. And we only vote for our own and take comfort in the tranquil voice of the social leaders as with point 5. We all have plenty of unconscious bias that has been programmed in via parental chat, education, entertainment and, particularly, with every political speech we have heard.
- Pleasing people pleases people – We end in irony. Groups comply rather than offer rational challenge for a reason. It is because they wish to enjoy harmony and for each member to be liked.
The assumption is that nice people, doing nice things for the needy is the way to go. It is not.
People pleasers don’t please people. We get nowhere and the wheels eventually fall off the bus. Group thinkers take wild decisions, create unsustainable levels of risk and cannot self-correct.
When we replace groupthink with licenced criticism, we start to create the conditions for GOOD conflict, robust exchange and the possibility of progress. This is challenging in most subcultures, where confrontation is actively avoided (How many times do the Brits say, Sorry, Sorry, Sorry, Sorry every day?)
Being nice is not always a necessary condition for collaboration.
Conclusion – A raft of assumptions and mistakes stand in the way of forging effective teams, committees and communities that can act with purpose, from a strong based of shared values to achieve worthy and sustainable outcomes.
Next time we look at some exercises that can get us from the 10 assumptions and mistakes mentioned above and move towards behaviours supporting full-on collaborative teams working in a robust, courageous and effective way to fulfil their mandate.
About the author – Matthew Hill is a facilitator, presentation coach and leadership trainer, working with commercial and voluntary organisations to help them operate as robust executive teams, fulfilling individual promise and delivering overall results that are extraordinary.
*** SIETAR Congress in Malaga *** – Matthew Hill and Susanna Schuler will be running a workshop on the second day of the 1st SIETAR Spain Congress in Malaga. Saturday, 29th September 2018. After lunch. Do join us if you can…
Matthew Hill – 07540 65 9995
To read the rest of Ardi Bouwers’ post and find her blog too, just click on the link; http://www.chinacircle.nl/help-everyone-a-china-expert/
About the Author – Ardi Bouwers is a China and communication expert. She plays with perspectives, jumping from China to the Netherlands and back, to help her clients deal with those difficult direct Dutch or the cautious circling Chinese, in order to build greater mutual trust and understanding.”
She can be reached via email@example.com
Will you take up the €10 Challenge?
We sometimes set a simple exercise in the Going for Growth Bootcamp. The task is to design a marketing sequence that generates a profit of €10.
It sounds a bit silly but the point is this. If you can get your products, voice and marketing together for this simple exercise – THEN – €10, €1000 or €10,000 will become a possibility for you very soon!
Where to start?
If you have a friendly, warm and GDPR compliant database start here. You are putting out feelers to them to sound out their interest or invite them to some form of interaction / demonstration that will take them from “know you” to, “like you, trust you and understand your offer.” That is quite a leap in one contact so it had better be a warm and fruitful encounter…
There is a 14-Point invitation formula that works. Elements include connection, hopes and fears, 3 points of education, scarcity and a Call To Action – CTA. The formula works. And, when I say works, I mean it will be 10 times as affective as a nice and polite letter that a non-marketer would send out.
WAFE – Warm And Fruitful Encounter
- Interactive speech – Here you gather them in a space and, with a special presentation formulation and sequence, help them to deepen their sense of need and lack and therefore create a gap in their lives that can ONLY be filled by your product or service.
- Selling Webinar – Again with the right content and sequence, you can easily sell to your warm crowd that you have developed and captured in your database. (Filling up your database with warm contacts is dealt with elsewhere.)
- Demonstration – My day job is leadership and talent training – The obvious demonstration of my work will be a short training course – If the prospect is less that 2 hours away, I offer a live half-day and we all play nicely. And, if they are further afield, I provide an educational demonstration session via webinar. What will you demonstrate?
Call To Action
With these WAFEs I am aiming to shorten the warming process, accelerate the trust building path and get the client qualified in (or out) at lightning speed.
Take it Off-Line
The aim is to have a warm and qualified prospect talking to you about your offer. It can be a tiny one – A book, or, it can be a large one – A transformation and change programme. It does not matter. The key is to get into a one-to-one interaction where you can match your selling communication with their buying process and reach a mutually beneficial outcome.
In less than 500 words you have read an overview of a minimalist marketing sequence that WORKS. I hope that is efficient enough for you. I know you are busy. If you wish to talk about the 14-Point invitation structure and how you could adapt it for your business, do feel free to give me a call. +44 7540 65 9995.
About the Author – Matthew Hill is a trainer, coach and public speaker helping trainers, coaches and mediators to build their business, reach profitable independence and give back to society.
May the most culturally appropriate team win…
As 32 teams line up to compete in the Russia 2018 World Cup, we ask how big a role will culture play in determining the winner? In this light-hearted piece we discuss the implications of country difference on the performance of national football teams.
Warning; Do not put your hard earned savings betting on the findings of this article!
Are They Hungry Enough?
Have you ever wondered what the overarching cultural criteria for winning in football is? The obvious starter is hunger to win. Interestingly, competitiveness has been studied and country comparisons have been made. On a global scale the USA is the undisputed champion. With less than 5% of the world’s population they account for almost 24% of the worlds economy. That requires a high degree of competitiveness. BUT they are rubbish at soccer. Go figure.
Related to competitive behaviour and the drive to win rather than lose, aggression is a factor and, one of the fathers of culture, Geert Hofstede, measured masculinity of culture which can be seen to overlap with being macho (at a stretch.) So. Which is the most macho country? There is no obvious winner but the contenders would have to include Russia, Ukraine and Brazil (forget the man bags – look at the street life.)
If you believe that Russia 2018 has already been won on the training ground and the whiteboards of the classroom and in the feeder schools and the coaching academies you may be right. Cultures can be measured for planning, striving for perfection and a focus on task. When we reviewed the Brazilian World Cup of 2014 Germany surprised the whole of South America with their extraordinary long-term strategy of grooming young German footballers from the moment of conception through birth, youth and up till the final whistle.
This extraordinary dedication to process, preparation and pathway paid off as never before. So the planning champions of the World – Germany must be taken seriously. If organised cultures are in with a shout we must add Japan, Sweden and Iceland to the mix as well. (Who ever thought Iceland would be here?)
Conversely, is it the flamboyant individual flair of the boys upfront that wins matches? Culture studies provide a measure of risk taking, risk acceptance and active risk avoidance into account when comparing countries. Ironically, on this scale, Germany would be placed as highly risk avoidance. They actively plan to anticipate and eliminate uncertainty and prepare for all eventualities in extraordinary detail. If we look at the magical football of South America, we see the opposite where flare, superhuman talent and the theatrical make for a good game. The nearest contenders in the would have to be Spain, Portugal and France. It is interesting to note that there is a correlation between risk-taking and a fatalistic view of the world. In the examples we’ve mentioned here the Catholic faith provides the external input. “If God wishes it to be so, we will win the cup”. Never underestimate the motivating power of a vast external force. Religion has shaped the behavior, the economies and the politics of most of the world. Why should it not also play a part in football?
Zinedine Zidane’s head butting of Italy’s Marco Materazzi in extra time at the 2006 World Cup Final (in Zidane’s final professional game) is the classical example of rule breaking. It was an arbitrary, but an automatic reflex to an insult received about his mother. Sometimes principles and deep personal values trump the playing of the game and sticking within the rules.
It is fairly obvious that in a difficult close fought match you need to keep 11 players on the pitch. A red card will rob you of a full team and multiple yellow cards will reduce the talent available later on in the competition. Whilst rule breaking can provide individual flair, the cumulative effect is negative in any one competition, especially involving a knockout element. So, will we see the rule breaking countries making progress? England, Portugal and Russia. If one maintains a detached analytical view, this random and arbitrary adherence to the rules is a risk too far and sabotages a country’s chances.
Political, social and football power comes in two structural forms – vertical and horizontal. With the vertical structure, the boss is the boss and the player is the player. The power is kept by the captain, the coach, or the country manager. What they say goes. The players benefit from this set up because they gain certainty, direction and a clarity of the task in front of them. If the tactics and plan are good enough, horizontal power can be motivating and effective in execution on the pitch. The hierarchical countries are Russia, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Japan, S. Korea and France.
The alternative structure is functional power, equality and democracy. Famously in, Swedish society, decisions are made collaboratively and in an inclusive fashion. Everybody is listened to, the quieter members are respected, and the collective direction is decided and followed. Off the pitch this can be powerful. On the pitch this can be disastrous. The democratic decision makers in Russia 2018 are Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and Iceland.
A third choice in this section is reserved to one special country – Belgium. The Belgian compromise is a unique cultural phenomenon where, when offered the choice between black-and-white, the Belgian chooses grey. Not famous for performing well in any football competitions at the national level, we all have a soft spot for this plucky little country.
What do you think is required on and off the pitch? Part of the spectator entertainment package in any big competition, is looking at the communication style of the national coach. Are they calm, controlled and well-dressed? Do they communicate with simple loud commands? Or do they gesticulate like a conductor leading the orchestra playing the rousing parts of the William Tell overture?
If a coach gives direct and obvious input, then the other team can hear it too. There is an argument for indirect verbal language and disguised non-verbal communication being of more use when deployed amongst a perceptive team. Who of our 32 bands of brothers has this combination of indirect communication and subtle context interpretation? The results may surprise you. If this is a contributing factor to winning silverware (goldware) we could be in for a good competition. The countries that stand out are England, Japan and Serbia.
If you don’t believe subtlety wins matches, then you’re likely to put your money on the low context obvious verbal communicator teams. They include France, Germany, Spain and Australia.
Team or individual?
The final contribution from the science of cultural measurement gives us mixed results. Do we think a collective and group spirit promotes a healthy distribution of motivation, a glorious division of responsibility and ownership, and an advanced level of cooperation, and will their coordinated efforts be good enough to win matches?
Don’t try this at home…
Or, do we remember individual flair and the exceptional solo physical effort of a standalone hero as providing the defining moments of many competitions? Certainly the latter is what endures. Famous interculturalist, George Simons would say, remember that the man of the moment, stands on the shoulders of others. The contrast in this last criterion could not be more stark. England’s history has been one of the extraordinary individual dynamism often let down by the rest of the team trotting along beside them. Germany has benefited from the even and consistent support of the team reducing the pressure on individual star to perform alone. And historically… They have done better.
An alternative ending.
Decades of study in the field of culture throw up strange and unexplained phenomena. We have not factored in the support of the crowd. This must be a major factor for the great successes of South American teams and Spanish football. And, let’s add another important question – What are the people drinking? There are three main alcohol groups in Russia 2018
The beer drinkers – in it for the long haul, slow and steady, emotionally balanced with an even workplace. (England, Germany, Denmark and Belgium.)
The wine drinkers – emotional, artistic and graceful they are poets, philosophers and performers. It is all about drama and can end in triumph or tragedy – nothing in between. (France, Switzerland, Serbia, Croatia, Spain and Portugal)
The spirits drinkers – Courage, soul and drama typify this group. Complete loyalty to each other, sacrifice for country and team, and, heroism also marks out the firewater teams. (Brazil, Russia, Poland and Ukraine)
Conclusion – so science and culture indicate stronger performances then you might imagine from Switzerland, Sweden and Iceland, great progress by France, Spain and Serbia, and heroic efforts by England and Germany. But never, ever discount Tunisia!
Warning – Matthew Hill does not know that much about football!