Broadening Your Thinking
Here is a bunch and a half of articles I've written for
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Perceptions & Realities.
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What is a Customer?
When we communicate, the words sound familiar so we think we
understand each other. But understanding fizzles when we
attribute different meanings to our words. This
article illustrates how differences in the way departments and
companies define their terms can cause confusion, flawed
conclusions, and faulty decisions.
What To Do When Anger Strikes
When someone pushes your buttons, anger is a natural reaction.
Ideally, you can calmly express that anger, without lashing out.
Sometimes, however, anger provokes a response that is excessive
for the situation, inappropriate for the context, or
counterproductive to what you're trying to accomplish. This
article offers suggestions for controlling anger rather than
letting it control you.
Thinking Inside the Box
The problem with outside-the-box thinking is that many of us
do a less-than-stellar job of thinking inside the box.
We fall victim to familiar traps, such as doing
things the same old (ineffective) way. Thinking outside the
box can generate innovative and ingenious ideas, but
the results will flop when you ignore the ideas inside the
A Mind-Changing Exercise
After reading the above article "Thinking Inside the
Box," in which I mentioned an experiential exercise I had
facilitated, numerous readers contacted me to learn more about
conducting such exercises. Here is one of my favorite team
exercises, with details on how to conduct it and what to expect
when you do.
When building successful relationships with customers,
certain verbs such as "to respond," "to
listen," and "to involve" are important.
But there’s another verb that's not at all
customer-focused: "to get." I don’t mean "to get a 50%
raise for completing the project on time."
No, I mean, "to get customers to do things your
way." Learn how verb replacement therapy can
help you build better relationships with your customers.
We often claim that customers don't know what they want, and
then we expect them to tell us anyway. But does it make sense to
expect customers to select from among the multitude of options
when they don't even know what those options are? In this
article, I recall how an unfortunate situation led me to a new
approach to identifying customer needs.
Strengthening Your Speaking Savvy
As a professional speaker, I know well that speaking at a
conference can work wonders for your credibility. Delivering a
presentation is an opportunity to share your insights, convey
valuable information, and gain a reputation as an expert on your
topic. In this article, I offer suggestions for successful
Was It Something I Said?
Sometimes it seems like talking to a customer is about as
effective as chatting with a brick wall. But have you ever
considered that the problem may not be your customer but your
communication skills? This article explains why HOW you say
something can be just as important as the WAY you say it.
Through the Eyes of a Troubled Customer
Have you ever had to cope with a demanding developer? A
touchy tester? A cantankerous customer? Why oh why do people act
that way? This article describes the route one group took to
reverse a customer's bad attitude and make her a valuable
Becoming an Information-Gathering Skeptic
Customers don't always know what they want. That's a given.
But even if they do know, they may not be able to
communicate it clearly. That's also a given. Given these givens,
you have a much better chance of comprehending your customers'
needs and concerns if you’re a skilled information-gathering
Understanding Introversion and Extroversion
Personality differences often pose challenges
for people who work together. One such difference is that
which separates introverts and extroverts. Just by being
themselves, introverts and extroverts can drive each other crazy.
But they can also benefit from each other's strengths. In this
article, I offer ideas to help introverts and extroverts better
understand and appreciate each other.
This Way, Mr. Roboto
Have you ever felt like you were going in circles trying to
explain programming to non-technical people? My own approach is
to demystify the programming world by showing people how to think
like programmers—on a basic level. This seemingly intricate
journey starts with a few simple directions.
Developing Sales Savvy
You're not a salesperson, right? But if you've ever tried to
sell your ideas, proposals, or recommendations, you've used some
sales savvy. The question isn't whether you are a salesperson,
but rather how good a salesperson you are. In this article, I
offer guidance and advice for selling your point of view.
Information Gathering Cop-Style and
If the questions you ask in interviewing your customers focus
too narrowly on a problem that must be solved, you might miss information that could be critical to a successful
outcome. To improve the odds of success, it's important to ask
questions from multiple perspectives—and to pay attention not
only to the customers' responses, but also to how they say it.
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