Monthly Archives: December 2016

Around the world with a dash of envy

eenie-meenie-miney-moe   A friend of mine posted a picture yesterday of her and her entire life, packed into two suitcases. She’s Australian, gets itchy feet if she spends too long in one place and lives to travel. Luckily her husband’s pretty much the same so they’re off around the world, restricted only by locations with broadband (still gotta work).

Does that make you envious? It does me.

I’d be both excited and yet terrified by the prospect of packing up my life and having no fixed abode. Theoretically it’s possible. My work as a translator needs just an internet connection, I could make it pretty much a paperless operation. Truthfully, I wouldn’t do it. I feel like I’ve done a milder version of it, 7 months with a backpack shows you just how little you actually need. Now, I like stability in my life and would always have a fixed address to come home to. Not to mention if we took off around the world we’d have to homeschool our kids, yikes!

Noticing those feelings though gives you some useful pointers. Envious of travel, look at ways you can introduce that next year – for me, it’s booking a holiday, speaking at a conference in Wales, planning a couple of trips to Germany for business. Envious of the freedom, how can you feel more free? I don’t know what that means for you but for me it’d probably be making sure I had ample time in my diary to do whatever the hell I wanted. Not possible all the time, sure, but an hour a week, one day a fortnight or a couple of nights out with friends when I’m usually at home on my own with sleeping kids. All possible.

So that’s a way of noticing what you might like more of in life. How about at work? Well, work is still where you spend most of your time so see if you can incorporate more of what you’d like there too.

Also: think about how you can make your prospective clients envious. What do they really, really want or need in their life? How does your product or service give them that?

An artist might paint caricatures – reminds people of a fun time, maybe they need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously, what a great reminder to have on your wall. What a good idea as entertainment for a stuffy, corporate event.

Sales staff for an engineering company – you might provide a customised solution to a sticky problem. Your clients want an easier life, fewer people to deal with, reliable suppliers that can suggest ways to make improvements to their process. Make them envious of the easy life your current clients have because of you. Maybe you provide multiple products so they can come to you for everything and your products improve efficiency, boost profits and pave the way for a promotion for your contact.

I’m sure there are better examples. You know your company and its products. Have a think about your clients though. You might be absolutely certain that you’re the best option for your client, but they need a bit more convincing. Make them want, desire, envy your product and it all  becomes a little easier.

Tis the season of Gemütlichkeit

tis-the-season-of-gemuetlichkeit

Words I’d taken for granted as being a fixed part of the English language I recently discovered came from the German. Noodles, abseiling, rucksack. Obvious when I read them now.

One word that hasn’t transferred over from the German is Gemütlichkeit. It’s usually translated as cosiness but that’s just one aspect of the German meaning.

Think a roaring open fire, a snug sofa, glass of mulled wine/cup of tea/hot chocolate and a good book. That’s cosy. But the German word also describes a friendly atmosphere that you can get from strolling through a bustling town centre – sticking with this time of year I’m envisaging stalls selling Glühwein, crepes, and gingerbread – it gives you a feeling of contentedness. The Oxford English dictionary defines Gemütlichkeit as “the quality of being pleasantly cheerful: cosy, snug, homely, genial, good-natured”

I got up early today to tackle my inbox and proofread a translation so I can go out for a run later. Both sitting here with a mug of tea and my office heater and the sense of satisfaction following a good run enjoyed with a friend I reckon can be described as gemütlich.

And I think we need more of this feeling in business.

You know that people buy with their emotions and not because the cold, hard facts on paper say they should.

Make your clients and prospective clients feel good when they work with you and you’re on to a winner.

How can you do that?

By making things easy for them. By giving them reassurance that their stickiest problem is solved when they choose your product or service. By offering them value and great service with every conversation or interaction you have with them.

Yes we want results. Yes we want efficiency, reliability, and high-quality. These are, or should be a given. Ultimately, we want to feel good – reassured, lighter, cared for. Despite the digitalisation and streamlined automated systems of the present, or maybe because of these, we humans crave personal interaction. How special does it make you feel when you get truly personalised service? Imagine the manager of your favourite restaurant coming to your table and asking about your kids, offering you a glass of wine on the house just because he can. Gemütlich.

One of my favourite clothes shops (I’ll talk more about them another day because they get it) allows customers to browse with a cup of tea of coffee. The staff took my husband and children to a little area and plied them with biscuits and toys while I was ushered into the changing room and urged to take my time. That’s gemütlich.