Sunday, February 10, 2008
It has been almost a year since I last posted – things have been busy…and busy is good.
I have spent the last few months speaking a lot with prospects, customers, analysts, journalists, partner, and anyone else who doesn’t fit in one of those categories. We have made some significant announcements in the last few months (http://www.myworklight.com/) and subsequently, there has been a lot of interest in what we are doing. I have spoken to many, many interested and inquisitive people. I have learned a lot from these people and for that, I am genuinely grateful for the time, the attention and the feedback. This is a part of my job that I truly cherish.
Which is why I am genuinely shocked when someone attends a briefing thinking they are doing me a favor for taking my meeting or phone call. For these folks I offer the following advice:
Tips for A Professional Briefing
- My staff and I spend copious time researching who covers our market and technology areas. We often spend a lot of time and effort filling out your forms which ask us about the nature of our briefing. Read the brief - if you aren’t interested, politely decline the briefing. If you aren’t sure, invest a few minutes looking at what we do on the web and then decide.
- If you do take the briefing and you expect me to understand what you cover, what interests you, and what you have written, the least you should do is take a 30-second look at your questionnaire before getting on the phone or joining the meeting.
- If you are not sure if you are interested or not, I suggest you take the briefing, but tell me you have only 15 minutes. If you become genuinely interested, you can extend the call/meeting. If not, we both “invested” 15-20 minutes and we part our separate ways. Being impatient and condescending is just rude and it reflects badly upon you and your organization.
- In my opinion, a brief is an exchange of information, not just a one way monologue. I like to ask relevant questions; if this isn’t on your agenda, state so upfront.
- Often, I talk to people who are working on reports, studies, or articles, or who are working on background materials for different projects. I can’t guess what you want to know by reading your blog or bio. Asking you up front if there is anything in particular you want or don’t want to talk about, seems like good practice to me. If this rubs you the wrong way, then I propose the following deal – answer the question without condescension, and I promise not to show you any Powerpoint slides.
- I can understand you don’t like market-speak or empty buzzwords. I will avoid using them if you promise to avoid categorizing my story/company/product/case study, etc into one of your convenient buckets, without first listening and spending a few minutes trying to understand what this is all about.
- And most importantly…to paraphrase Jeff Spicoli, “this is our time. Yours and mine. Your time is no more valuable than mine. I am a busy person. If you aren’t interested, I have better things to do with my time.
And to those of you who are courteous, inquisitive, and make this job as fun as it is, I apologize for having to write this….Those are my two cents.