Wouldn´t it be nice if everyone has their priorities pinned on their forehead, or better in the shape of shiny sliders floating over their head?
Yes, silly idea, but it would make life so much easier.
During the last year I have deepened my understanding of psychology, marketing and social phenomena to find the most intriguing topics the outcome based thinking and personal values.
Everyone has values or priorities, in doing freelance business I found that it is vital to learn your clients values, this makes it easier to satisfy a customer and it brings the fun back into work at the same time.
Basically everyone has a set of sliders, just the settings develop and adjust as we grow older, through experiences, through persuasion, belief and through advertising. In fact: media and advertising have a great impact to our slider settings and how we perceive the world.
When does this affect you?
If you learn to see the sliders besides or in relation to everyone you have -or want to deal with, be it your parents, your boss or your best friend, this will help you gain an even better understanding of their values.
And let´s be honest, to please somebody you want to convince is easy if you know what exactly they want.
The big question is how to get this information, or the "slider-parameter", especially if someone is not specific about an inquiry?
Well this is something you have to ask for. It is professional to ask questions. It is not unethical if it serves to deliver a better service or product. And it shows sincere interest in the clients needs. I can just speak about freelancing business and therefore services, but this applies to so many other businesses as well.
It just hurts to see people bothering about their colleagues or bosses or even clients, this isn´t just a problem, this shows that at some point they havn´t asked the right questions.
Value based communication is the key here.
If you know what your opposite´s values are you can´t seem to fail - theoretically, at least if you don´t intend it.
And it is definitely communication that is causing such issues.
Wrong communication methods are the first instance of a problem in most cases.
This is the reason I mostly insist of communicating through e-mail, if I have a question that might be answered beforehand, I can go back and review it, if I send a reply, its nearly a commitment, a promise to "get-things-done"! While a phone call just steals time in many cases, it is unpleasant to find yourself later with an unanswered question, and more often than not we didn´t want to bother with a follow-up call, but a follow-up e-mail isn´t such a bother, it shows interest and is proof of active listening.
So many problems could be avoided if we learn to communicate effectively. In my opinion this should be a school-subject of its own. On the other hand it takes time to find your best communication method.
I found out that I´m not really good at talking on the phone (for a first contact), my personal or direct contacts still need to get better as also the ability to speak in public, I feel most comfortable by writing, because this way I don´t forget anything that might be important.
Another noteworthy thought about that matter perfectly illustrated in the picture above, is to find out if a prospect is acquiring something from you because he wants to, or because he has to.
The latter is more promising, because time might be short, or a company is behind him but it also tells me that less creative freedom is in a project. If someone is asking because he is self-publishing and is directing the art all by themselves - less money might be an involved, but more freedom and the chance to create something really outstanding are a deal for me.
Outcome based thinking is in my opinion something that artists invented, it is being told that Michelangelo started to work on his famous sculpture of David after a year of just imagining it from the rough block of stone. This is outcome based thinking in its purest form, visualization and the feeling that it will be good in the end are the main ingredients for a great result.
Very often we effectively make use of this techniques but don´t even know it.
We also create and live in our very own reality, we feel most comfortable with people whose reality seems to be very close to ours. In terms of business this is an opportunity as also the key to rejection. Any application letter and CV will be judged to see if you fit into their corporation keyholes, if your data doesn´t fit, you will most likely not fit.
Easy as pie.
Doing freelancing business appears to be even more complex, but after 3 years of doing this successful, I can say it is not. Because no data is required to gain rapport with your clients need. Sure, data is helpful, but what is most important is the rapport and personal values.
However, there is a chance of a mismatch here and there, we all went into this trap at least one time, but what helps in a case of doubt is the simple rule: "Win/Win, or no deal at all". If there´s nothing in for everyone involved, it is better to walk away and not accept to do work continuously.
I don´t talk about money here, collaborations seem to be always a Win/Win situation if you learn something out of it. Many businesses require that you do an intern at your own cost, the only thing you can earn is to learn something.
Make the world a better place and be aware of your values and take care of others.
It is just not worth putting your face into the sand because of failure in communication...