Category Archives: communication
“Do as I say not as I do!” – This was/is a favourite saying from my Dad. Normally trotted out when we as kids, busted doing something, which we found amusing. Talking with his mouthful and farting/burping in public being a few examples that you cannot go past. (Those last two normally followed with the infamous “Where ever you may be, let your wind go free”)
———> MY Dad!
Now I’m an experienced Dad (well, I’ve been one now for 8.5 years and have now ramped my Dadness up to cover 3 (not so) little tykes, I’m finding myself morphing into my parents. Sadly (I feel) it’s not just at home. It’s creeping into my work life. It’s quite confronting when you realise that you have people in your team, who are almost a generation younger than you!
I felt this yesterday. I took an annual leave day to spend what turned out to be a stunning day with the family. Being school holidays and all, it was the least I could do to at least seem like I was shouldering the load with my wife. It was a great day, weather wise, couldn’t have asked for better, best Spring day for the season. We jam packed it with activities which were fun for all of us. We laughed when we heard about the traffic chaos almost shutting poor Melbourne town down, as I wasn’t needing to battle it. We played, we worked in the garden, we got haircuts and we played some more! It was gold!
But I was still drawn to the phone, the little mobile office in my pocket. I only took one call, which we concluded in less than 2 minutes, but I was still compelled to check. I’m not sure why.. I’m not a workaholic (sorry boss), sure I enjoy what I do and have a real passion for it, but reflecting back…. seriously? one day? My mistress iPhone gets me in. (I get grumpy with my team do it) I can remember the days when you just travelled somewhere. If you were out and someone wanted to catch you, you had to leave a message on a cassette tape on the answering machine (I think I’ve lost my Gen Y readers – check this for clarification) I couldn’t take calls, I couldn’t check status’ (that was done at the pub with the lads) and my message bank was a number of red slips of paper in my cubby hole at work when I returned to the office! I’m wondering how my kids will actually be able to take a break from the office? They’ll be doing stuff we haven’t even thought of yet.
Is this a comment on me? society? a new working culture? Does it make you good at your job or just bad at living?
Funnily, I accepted a meeting invitation which takes all of a microsecond to click “Yes” I’ll attend. This acceptance was followed by a quick email, in capitals no less from one of MY team, saying “GET OFF THE EMAIL!”. Humph… Double Humph!!!! She was right mind you, and I would have done exactly the same thing, if the roles had been reversed. But come on, “Do as I say not as I do!!” I can say that right? 😉
I must be having a dumb moment. I just don’t understand. Why is it that people do Recruitment Advertising and do not put their name or phone number or email address on it?
With the low odds of quality candidates actually reading your ad and wanting to reply, why would you not want to talk to them? What you are essentially saying to potential applicants is “Please talk to my ATS, they’ll look after you until I deem you worthy enough of my time.” I mean come on?
What is the rationale behind this? Recruiters are too busy to talk to people? Is it different for in-house Recruiters and their Agency counter parts? Having been on both sides I don’t see why? Sure you get some time wasters, some angry people at times and some people who you think this would be the first English conversation they’ve ever had. But what does having these conversations actually cost you? 1-2 minutes?
When talking to job seekers I recommend contacting the company before putting in an application. Think up some smart (not smart ass!) questions, build a rapport, get them to look out for your resume before you apply (and then ask if you can follow up!). You cannot find out everything about a person from their resume, and you cannot tell everyone everything about yourself in a resume.
Just a tip from the battle hardened. I made one of my larger placements at Peerlo, from a guy who’s resume would not have got him a second look in. It was nowhere near the mark. But this guy called me. We spoke, he sent me his details (to see if he was serious or just kicking tyres), we spoke again. And whilst his resume wasn’t a match, he had created such interest that we had to meet. After meeting him, I knew he was right for my client. I’d been doing business with that company for near on 10 years, his attitude, skill and demeanour would get him the job. Bottom line: his first phone call, our first discussion was THE catalyst for him getting the job, and being one of the higher achieving people in that team. His resume didn’t get him the job, he did.
Interesting thing happened to me this week. I ran into an old colleague in a coffee shop (that’s not the interesting thing) but he said something to me which resonated a bit. He said “Nuroo…. man, I feel I know more about you now that I did when we worked together, with your blogs, your twittering and your facebook stuff.”
We laughed it off, however it got me thinking. “That’s pretty sad isn’t it?” Was I not open enough? Was our communication that poor? or is it just a comment on the brand new world2.0 now? Where information is more easily shared and found, and sometimes given to you even when you don’t want it.
Has the world for communication changed forever?
Another of my favourite books I read my kids every night is “The Very Cranky Bear”, by Nick Bland, my son received this book from Santa this year and it quickly became the most requested book in the house.
The imagery is great, the story funny, simple and moving… and yet an amazing learning lesson for Consultants and/or Customer Service professionals.
“In the jingle jangle jungle, on a cold and windy day, four furry friends found somewhere warm to play”
OK this is where is gets hairy… forgive the pun… our four main heros include, Moose, with marvelous antlers, Lion, a golden mane, Zebra had fantastic stripes, and Sheep, now sheep was plain.
None of them had noticed, that sleeping in their sanctuary of a cave was a bear… a Very Cranky Bear to be precise (AKA THE CLIENT) … who chased them out of the cave into the cold, wet weather with a number of well placed, loud “ROARs!”
The four friends were pretty disappointed with this outcome, and decided that there had to be a reason for this bear to be so cranky, (apart from them interrupting his slumber of course) and that if they could make him happy, he’d simply let them share.
Zebra was the brains of this outfit… who couldn’t see the responsibility but could see the solution. Zebra loved his wonderful stripes, they always made him happy… therefore is this bear had stripes.. he’d be happy too.. Simple problem solved…? Moose interjects with the thought that Stripes are a bore…, his antlers always made him smile.. “let’s give that bear a pair”… Lion disagrees with confidence “no no no no no” says lion “antlers are a bore” ” a golden mane like mine, will cheer him up for sure”. Alrighty then… 3 of our 4 hero’s go collecting things to ensure that they will make Bear happy.
This leads to one of the funniest pictures I have seen in ages.. reminds me of the old saying that a camel is a horse designed by committee.
Needless to say, but the Bear, now sporting new stripes, mane and antlers is not impressed…. he gets angry again, and chases out helpful hero’s out of his cave. On his way back into the cave, he stops and Roars and the unsuspecting Sheep. “All I really want.. is a quiet place to SLEEP”
Armed with this information, Sheep, shaves of half his wool, makes a pillow for our Cranky Bear. This makes the Cranky Bear happy and he soon falls fast asleep, maybe dreaming of a plain but thoughtful sheep.
Here’s my link:
Sheep, was the only consultant… Sheep listened to the problem, accepted responsibility, acted, invested personally in the solution and won over the client… whereas the others tried to impose their own solution on the Client’s problem and were magnificently unsuccessful.
You need to listen to your client, find out where their pain is, what the problem really is and from there formulate your strategy from there. Ask the dumb questions, clarify, and get that tailored solution for your client.. that will get you remembered.. boost your unique value proposition, and will have turned that Cranky Bear client of yours into a client for life!
Does social networking limit the need for actual contact?
In short… NO!
Social Networking, those magical sites that everyone is talking about.. you know.. the Facebook.com’s, the Linkedin.com’s, the MySpaces, great for recruiting right? How can you not make a bucket load of money just by using those sites alone… (if you believe all the hype)… Passive candidates found on these sites are way better that those that end up in your inbox from ad response.. in fact why bother posting ads to these job boards? it’s all about the candidates found in these sites. Isn’t it? (please detect tongue in cheek here). If you spend enough money on the right tool, spend enough time trawling these sites, In-mailing, IMing, DMing people will fill all your vacancies! Woo hoo… what have we been doing all this time? How did this world turn pre social networking?
What has happened to the phone? I think this little bit of technology, which has been around forever, well long enough to not be considered new, is still the KEY to successful recruiting. I recruited pre email, pre websites, pre job boards, and you know what? I was able to do my job and make money… truly! serious! I may sound it, but I’m actually not that old! not even 35 yet, and yes I have recruited without these tools.
I got on the phone! I face to face networked, spoke to anyone and everyone… had a bucket load of business cards and kept a database (not a CRM, an ATS or any other acronym).
I mentioned at the start I was feeling guilty about things.. what you may ask? I find myself at times being seduced by this new technology, (iphones, blackberries etc don’t help, bringing all your Internet, email etc with you everywhere you go) and ignoring the phone. Sending inmails on Linkedin, or just dropping emails to people… I sometimes placate myself with the idea that this is passive headhunting.. you know.. “if they aren’t interested then they just delete the email”, but basically it is lazy, and honestly doesn’t have the best results.
The best results have come from finding names, picking up the phone and finding a way to have a conversation with someone. It’s scary for people I know! When I was selling I had to really work myself up to it at the start.. lots of caffeine, hold my breathe and dial… (kind of sounds like when I was in high school, trying to ask a girl out)
However I went to a training course, from “sales guru” back in 1997, and whilst most of the session didn’t do much for me and I couldn’t find the interest to buy his audio tapes (remember them kids?) there was one bit that stuck in my mind about picking up the phone to strangers. What’s the worse they can say? “NO!” yeah and……….? If it takes you 4 phone calls to make a dollar, then every time someone says no, you smile think to yourself “Thanks for the 25 cents!”. Man that was powerful for me. This ideal, kept me on the phone. (in fact in my latest role, when I first started, I got questioned about the spike in the phone bill! That was great validation, especially when I could point at the record number of new hires.)
Now you may not have to do what I’ve heard of people doing in days gone by… I heard of people taping the phone received to their hand and wouldn’t let themselves be undone until X amount of calls were made, and no I don’t believe in boiler room style calling.
Confidence comes in the preparation (but don’t use doing lots and lots of research and excuse not to get on the phone. Yes that’s easy enough to do! Guilty your honour) You do need to do your research, qualify, whether it be for client or candidates, know what you want to say, or what message you need to get across. I don’t believe in scripts, as you have to engage in the conversation, however you need something to gain their interest nice and early, just like at the start of an advertisement. You need to have knowledge about the subject, and a compelling reason for them to talk to you. Once the conversation is started, all the fear will disappear.. trust me… 🙂 I twittered someone on this recently, my comment “just like getting into a cold pool. A deep breath and dive on in.. once done, it can’t be undone, gets easier from there. promise”
Just in case you are still scared of picking up that phone… in the dozen years or so, I can count on 1 hand the amount of times people have been truly rude to me.
It could be your differentiator, “WOW you’re a real person, not just an email address.”
A sad statement I know. This movie turned up on late night television the other night and it reminded me of a situation I was in a bit over a year ago.
Now this isn’t a Show me the money take off, but I still love that scene and needed the photo, for my own amusement. I digress
I was sitting at home, after a hellish day in the office, an occurrence which was happening not as rarely as it once had, and found myself writing. Lucky for the blogosphere I hadn’t joined its ranks yet. I voiced all my opinions about the company, my role, the management, the different personalities etc.. put it all out there. I was writing an email to my CEO and MD at the time. Man it felt good, so cathartic, and I believed it made a hell of a lot of sense.. I was about to change my world. I was pumped, maybe it was the caffeine I’d had to ingest to get through it all, who cares? I was excited. Now in Jerry Maguire, he acts out, passionately, straight to the copy mart and goes a little crazy, luckily enough for me (as Jerry gets fired.. remember) I remembered a little advice I’d received as a young professional. Never send an email on emotion, anger or happiness, save it in drafts, read it in the morning, and if you still believe it, then all means, GO FOR IT.
All I can say is thank god. I re-read in the morning and WOW, what a lot of nonsensical, emotional, jingoistic, egotistical crap it was. Don’t get me wrong, I believed in the underlying message, and still do, but wow the message was lost in lots and lots of words. Here’s the kicker.. I still wanted to send the message, but not in that format, not to those guys.
I was lucky, I had someone I could talk to, someone who understood my company, my role and my feelings and the players I was talking about. I sent this person my email, and held my breathe for the response… was I talking from a part of my body polar opposite to my mouth or not.
Luckily enough this person agreed with the message and the sentiment, and was nice enough to let me know.. they also agreed with the fact that the format would not get the message across. Think about your audience, how do they think? what would grab their attention?
Great thought… now remember I was writing to my CEO and MD, not sure if this is true of all people of this rank, however, my audience had to have their attention grabbed in seconds, or less to keep them reading, it had to be succinct enough to let them know what I was thinking and the benefits it held, and it should not be emotional at all (as that would stop reading, or at least reading with an objective viewpoint ASAP). I re-wrote a few times, and could not find a way to change too much. I tend to sometimes get attached to my work, and find it hard to change.
At 3am, it hit me.. (unfortunately this happens a bit to me) I had to start thinking like a recruiter, writing my ads for a particular person. Very effective I found.
I wrote a catchy title to the email, which I new they would read. Something like “A great way to improve profits”. I wrote a short sweet intro. Then dot points I needed them to know, and of course what they would get out of it. Finally, there was a call to action! “We should do this, or with your support I would like to discuss more.”
End result.. an emailed response from my CEO, with a phone call 20 minutes afterwards, some changes immediately, (I feel) an increased standing in the company, and a few more initiatives which changed the way the company operated.
Now this may seem like bragging, and maybe you are right, however, I thought it was an example of a way to use passion and communications to C level executives and get away with it. It’s like your ads.. Grab attention, use the what’s in it for them theory and finish with a call to action.
It continues to work.. hope this helps someone.