A No Cost Long Term Investment

Hiring employees who are good at relationship-building is a good long-term strategy that can save money and time and sustain an organization, particularly in tough times.  

Good relationships keep teams intact and humming along. It’s good relationships that cultivate customer loyalty no matter how the competition kicks up its game.

Moreover, most employees would rather have a pay cut than leave an organization where relationships were king.  

What are the qualities you should look for in candidates?  Good relationship builders: 

  • enter easily into small talk and segue seamlessly into business topics
  • are positive and curious
  • put their interests aside to learn about others
  • feel comfortable with different perspectives and  healthy conflict

Mindful listening (all the above qualities) is a core element of healthy, enduring relationships.  Have you a team member that could enhance their relationship-building skills? Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com  

COREageous Customer Service

I had to find a company to haul away my aging antique piano to make room for a new one. Founders, take note of this unique experience.

 I found Trash Can Willys junk removal online (www.TrashCanWillys.com) and called to arrange a pick up. Within 5 minutes they called back.

Grateful and enthusiastic for my call, they listened and were extremely accommodating in arranging for an in-person estimate.

Two very nice guys arrived on time, extremely courteous and well dressed.  Here’s the clincher: With no outward display of emotion, they could see that I was very concerned about trashing my beloved, but aging 100+ year old Chickering piano.  They assured me that they would move the piano with utmost care and put it back together for their thrift shop instead of junking it. I was thrilled to imagine that they might find a home for it. What trash collection company does that?

I wouldn’t expect that folks in that business would have an ounce of empathy for me and my piano.  They charged me a reasonable rate and were very conscientious about telling me how they planned to dismantle and move it safely. They offered to arrange a pick-up date to coincide with the delivery of the new piano, so I wouldn’t be without one for long. I was wowed.

Later than day, I referred Trash Can Willy’s to three friends and clients looking to downsize. They, too, were wowed.

The morale of this episode is to abide by the cluster of COREageous customer service greatness: enthusiasm, gratitude, courtesy, efficiency and caring.

Don’t wait. Establish low cost/no cost ways to offer excellent customer service early on in your startup. Contact me at Rebecca@MIndfulCommunication.com

The Piles of Books

If you’re like me, you like to read books that will add to your personal and professional value.

Books are like candy — dopamine hits that offer affordable hope, insight, knowledge and oftentimes, distraction from what we should be doing. Once the books arrive, we have every good intention of digging into them and reaping the benefits. However, the reality for most of my clients is threefold:

  • Books pile up unopened. It looks overwhelming.
  • They start a book, get bored or don’t finish.
  • They forget what they read minutes or hours later.

Here’s what I do:

  1. I prioritize what I need to learn and select purchases carefully. I read a few book samples online. I don’t trust most reviews. Does it, early on, provide the information I’m seeking? What’s the format – short pithy chapters or long narratives?
  2. When available, I get book summaries instead of full books. These are thinner versions that focus on the key take-aways.
  3. In a large notebook, I have a section for each non-fiction book I read. As I read, I note key points and make associations with what I already know and think of ways to apply the new information. Once a week, I skim through my notebook to keep the information fresh.

                                   Need more help integrating and consolidating new information? Contact me at                                                                          Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com


Ways to Get Things Done…Easier

What can you do to get things done, done well and on time with greater ease? Here are some good starting points:

Delegate   A bit time consuming up front, but a better long-term solution. A solopreneur client, who hates accounting, figured that if she hired a bookkeeper once a month for a nominal fee, it would be one big ugly task off her plate. Instead of suffering with the bookkeeping, she uses those 2-3 hours to do what she does best and covers the bookkeeper’s fee 5 times over.

Best time of day   Deep work requires prime time focus and concentration. You’ll get through those tasks faster and with greater accuracy at a time that is optimal for your focus and energy level.  Use low energy time for mindless work like laundry or house cleaning.

Assess the task   Before jumping feet first into a task, look it over and get an idea how involved the task will be. When’s the deadline?  Will you need assistance, resources or a location more conducive for working on it? Do you need to break it up into chunks and spread it out over time? You may also find that the task will take less time than you imagined!

If you’re a PRO at procrastination, let me help you turn the PRO into a NO!  Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com

Tips for Better Partnerships

Brett, a founder from San Francisco, writes: I need to partner up with other entities to support my housewares business. I’ve got a few options, but I’m cautious after hearing about failed partnerships. Any suggestions?

Successful partnerships with vendors, companies and investors come from building trusting relationships and doing your research. 

Partnerships are more than transactional interactions, they are relationships. It could take many months to build a trusting one, but it’s worth the wait. What kind of partnership would yield mutual benefit? Is the potential partner aligned with your mission and values? Will they work as a team or just be cogs in a machine? Would they agree to experiment with small batch orders or modest rounds of funding and work out the kinks before scaling up?

Next, do your research on a potential partner. Vet and vet some more. Go visit their factories and get references from customers. How responsive, collaborative and consistent is their communication? How do they behave with other customers in bad times? How did they stay operational during the pandemic?

Finding lasting partnerships is key to growing your business.

In business and in partnerships, mindful communication is everything. Have you a business relationship that could use a communication tune up? Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com 


Find Freedom in “No”

Look in the mirror. Press the tip of your tongue up behind your teeth and make an ‘N’ sound. Then round your lips into an ‘O.’ Does this utterance sound and look familiar? Reviving this simple sequence of two sounds (“NO”) will give you great power: more free time, less stress and more focus.

We mastered the use of NO around age two and used it quite liberally up until we started going to school. NO became associated with all sorts of negative things, and then we began to use it less and less.

Take a look at your schedule. If you are overwhelmed, it’s probably because NO is a tough word to spit out. YES is so much easier to say – we get more smiles, more votes, less conflict and we please everyone for the moment, except ourselves.

I’m not saying to be a Negative Nellie. Just think first about what you agree to do for people. It’s just not worth the guilt and shame we pile on ourselves when we over commit.

Practice saying ‘no’ several times in the mirror (with a smile, if you must) or its relative phrases, “No, not now” or “No thank you, my plate is full” until it gets as comfortable as saying “Yes.”

Listening to ourselves is a valuable skill. Learn how. Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com

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