How To Live Life Under A Cloud

ASH Wednesday, Leslie Ash – and for the older generation, perhaps Arthur Ashe. Most of us will have become familiar with the first day of Lent, the actress with ‘that’ pout and the former tennis legend. Now we have the Volcanic version of the ‘A’ word. One that caused the skies to be closed above much of Europe for six days, fuelling incalculable problems for the airline industry and passengers, not to mention the unprecedented and surreal sight at around junction 14 of the M25 – signs saying, ‘Heathrow Airport Closed’.

So, how did you deal with the problems? Did they affect your business? And how will you deal with them the next time, given that the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, shows no sign of letting up any time soon.

Well, David Festenstein, a Phone Guru and Coach as well as a Master Practitioner in Neuro-Linguisitic Programming (NLP) believes he can help. And David, an avid follower of the Naked Leader, has issued the following advice for business owners.

David says: ‘Here are the seven tips I would recommend to help support your business.’

1. Email of course is the obvious choice but it can take up to a week to get a decision using email. Far better to use the phone.

2. If you do not like the phone particularly, it is probably because you are a ‘visual person’ and prefer to see the other person face to face. Compensate for this by bringing up a picture of them from the website. If this is not possible imagine what they look like. You may be able to use skype video, so you can actually see the other person. Would that make you more comfortable?

3. To replace the body language you would get from a face to face meeting, focus on the other person’s tone, you will get a lot of clues about how they are responding to what you are saying and acknowledge accordingly.

4. Rather than having adhoc telephone conversations, arrange a formal ‘telephone meeting’ with an agenda. The other person will then be in a better state of mind to discuss the outcomes you are trying to achieve.

5. Test the agenda, if you were in the other person’s shoes would you accept your point of view? Briefly, mentally rehearse what you are going to say. Does it make sense, does it feel  right? If not adjust your agenda and what you are going to say.

6. When you do the call, make sure you are really listening to what the other person is saying, not concentrating on what you are going to say next. ‘Check in with them’ from time to time to see what you have said has been well received.

7. You may like to consider another ‘telephone meeting’ as a follow up or you can use teleconference call/teleseminar technology if there are a number of you involved in the decision-making process. It may take some time for your clients to get themselves back to some state of normality so they can start having face to face meetings again.

Thanks for the tips David. Hopefully your wise words will mean there will be less business owners coming over all ashen faced should similar problems arise in the next few months.


  • robinbarker

    You could always use Skype of course…

  • paul

    I like the thinking here. It seems that this advice is quite timely given the ash clouds that are causing misery again in certain parts. It could be a problem that runs and runs. Let's hope not though. Listened to Richard Branson today on radio and he thinks the whole thing is an overreaction. He would say that of course. Some are saying the cloud is a Km thick. Others less so. But Branson is only thinking about the hole that has suddenly appeared in his pockets.

  • mark

    At the risk of sounding pedantic Robin, I think that was mentioned in the article.

  • chris

    It's back to that making phone calls again. Some people have a gift for phone calls and making them and some simply don't. I am in the latter category although I do realise the importance of them and just how they can swing a business deal. It's just unfortunate for me that i am not very good when it comes to expressing myself on the phone.

  • paul charlton

    Phone calls are the way to real business opportunity. You have to make the contact with someone first before you can meet them so it's good business practice to make sure you are comfortable with phonecalls.

  • mary hull

    Telephones are how I do a lot of my business. Sometimes the person on the end of the call is receptive and sometimes they are not.I think you have to make someone feel enlivened by your discussion with them. make it sound like you want to talk to them and they will more likely do business with you. if you sound depressed or dreary on the phone they are likely to switch off from what you are saying.

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