Your clients don’t care

happyYour clients don’t care if…

…you’re having a bad day.

…you don’t feel well.

…your car breaks down.

…your computer is acting up.

…you don’t feel like working.

Your clients hired you to do a job. They only care about the outcome. Do the job you said you would do in the timeframe you said you’d do it. 

Don’t complain. Don’t make excuses. You signed up for this.

Shake off everything else and hunker down and get it done.

No excuses.

No explanation needed

jumpDon’t be deceived into thinking that you owe anyone an explanation for anything you choose to do or not do. Not even yourself.

You don’t have to give anyone a reason for anything you do. I don’t care who they are.

Most of the time it seems like I make decision based on facts, logic or circumstances that point towards a local choice. Other times I don’t know why but I just feel that I should do something. I say just as if the feeling itself isn’t enough. When I’m at my best I go with that feeling.

You don’t have to be able to prove it or justify it or have a reason or rationale. Just because you feel it is enough. Trust your instincts and make a decision. The reasons may come later. Or they may not. But trust yourself enough to know that in that moment you made the right decision.

We make a mistake when we think that we have to justify our decisions. People ask, and we make up a excuse or come up with some bull shit skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.

Have the courage to let the decision exist on its own.

But we can’t do that until it’s enough on its own for us. Only then can it be enough for someone else.


Setting the atmosphere for conversations

robeToday I made my annual trek to the Ruth J. Spear Breast Center for my annual mammogram to have my chicken cutlets compressed to the width of my iPad. While I understand it’s a first world problem, I wonder, as I do every year, why the sum total diagnosis of a woman’s health is settled by reviewing photographs of her smashed breasts and cells scraped from her vagina. But I digress.

While waiting for my technician I made two observations:

  1. You can’t be shivering cold and have a meaningful conversation about your breast health.
  2. It’s difficult to have a serious conversation with a medical professional while you’re–let’s just say it–topless. There’s something about this state of undress that screams vulnerable.

These observations led me to draw some conclusions about conversational environments:
The best conversational outcomes are achieved when the playing field is equal. Everyone feels comfortable and empowered to speak up. Elephants have been ushered out of the room and the emperor is either fully clothed or admittedly naked.

Everyone understands the expectations. Everyone understands the rules, spoken or unspoken. And everyone is comfortable.

Makes me wonder what kinds of things are forgotten or left unspoken at medical appointments because the patient’s brain is preoccupied with insignificant details that matter not one iota to her health. And then I wonder the same about interviews, client meetings and team meetings.


What I learned about indirect communication at the Main Cafe

Ours was the third booth from the back on the left. A young widow with two preschoolers, my young widowed mother had no propensity for preparing balanced dinners for us at home. The chicken fried steak and meatloaf meals that Harold prepared were so generous–and at $1.29, so well priced–that my thrifty mother ordered a single meal which we shared. My earliest memories of dinner were served by Harold’s brother Jim or Jim’s wife Ruth at the Main Cafe.

Looking back, so much of my early education in indirect communication was acquired in this small southeastern Iowa cafe on 7th and Main.

A look or a nod to Jim would yield a refilled coffee cup or a scoop of butter brickle ice cream served in a sundae glass.

While the ancient menu might contain tempting items like grilled cheese sandwiches, Harold expected everyone to order from the specials, and he had a less than subtle way of bringing noncompliant customers around to his way of thinking.

Jim sitting at the bar behind his old Royal, typing up tomorrow’s menu, meant that he was not to be disturbed.

A customer standing at the bar near the front would invariably prompt Ruth or Jim to materialize, accept payment and add the bill to the stack on the metal spike next to the register.

metal spikeEach evening, after a leisurely dinner, the crosswords and dessert, my mother would carefully stack all of the dishes and position them to the side of the table nearest the server. Jim would respond with a measured smile and a nod, his expression of thanks


It’s gotta make sense

You’ve seen it. The recent U of O journalism grad reporting “breaking news” at 11:00 from remote, long-since-deserted shooting locations. Shattered glass was swept up hours ago. Since the witnesses have tucked into their dinners, and probably even their beds, there’s no one to interview. Even the reporter appears clueless as to why she’s here.

Viewers aren’t fooled. Reporting from a location long after the fact doesn’t give credence to a news report. It’s just gimmicky reporting.

On the other hand, Today’s Savannah Guthrie reported from Charlotte this morning because reporting from this location, vs. the studio in New York City, is relevant. She’s in Charlotte to prepare for tonight’s opening of the Democrat’s Convention. Her producer wisely used Guthrie’s early arrival as an opportunity for her to interview Democratic contender Elizabeth Warren on the state of the economy.

Yoo-hoo! Is Anybody Home?

Back in the day when we had a home phone my son, Jesse, was little maybe eight years old when my husband and I decided it was high time we taught him how to answer the phone. If you’ve ever called a friend’s home. had their first grader answer the phone and then be left lying on the floor with the receiver for the next 15 minutes, you understand exactly why this is necessary. Answering a telephone isn’t intuitive for small children.

So we drafted a script of sorts which was laminated and attached with velcro to our phone’s receiver. When the phone rang, all Jesse had to do was tear the script off the receiver and read the first sentence: Continue reading

Are you feeling tongue tied?

You talk to you on the phone with a potential client, do some research, email an outlined proposal, then put it in the “hold” file and wait. And wait. You send a follow-up email. Then you wait some more.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people are unresponsive. Who’s with me?

Or am I talking about you? If so, let me ask you this: What are you afraid of? Continue reading