Monthly Archives: January 2017

Chemistry, it makes me SICK!

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It’s one of my vivid memories from my first year at university. My friend Catherine waving her lab coat in the air shouting in her Brummie accent. “It makes me physically sick!”

Now Catherine was a straight-A chemistry student. While the rest of us were researching and scratching our heads at isomerism and organic reaction mechanisms, everything just clicked in her brain without trying. But after a few weeks she realised it wasn’t for her. She switched to English and Philosophy and never had to wear her lab coat or safety goggles again.

I thought of her when I attended a training event at the Museum of London and shuddered involuntarily as I walked past display cabinets housing chemicals. It looked just like one of the fume cupboards in our uni lab. Despite signing up for a Chemistry (and German) degree and thoroughly enjoying it, I did not like the 6 hours of lab work we did every week. I was too scared I was going to cause an explosion, mess things up. I got frustrated producing minuscule amounts of a powder after a long 2-week experiment.

The worst thing that happened? I got blisters on my fingers from a leaky burette.

So I wasn’t destined for a life in the lab. At least I knew that and diverted my focus away from the lab coats. It’s given me a great grounding and specialism to offer my clients. I’m more than happy to let you and your colleagues do the hard work and I’ll help spread the fruits of your research to new markets.

Is there anything that makes you shudder at work? Is it a necessary evil like managing your budget or could you delegate or swap tasks with a colleague?

And if everything is enjoyable but you’ve got too much on, here’s a tip: Ask your manager what they consider to be the most valuable task you could be working on. (If you work for yourself, switch positions at your desk and give it some thought). Then put 80% of your effort into doing that task really well. Your manager will be happy, you’ll be getting better results, and your job satisfaction will sky rocket.

I could get better at this too, but I’m getting there.

Oh, and if translating or writing in English isn’t one of those most valuable tasks, why not outsource it? My English Under the Microscope review service will give you an action plan that you can delegate or power through yourself.

Be like Gudbrand, the happiest man on the mountain

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There was once a Norwegian couple who lived in the mountains. They had two cows, one more than they needed so they decided to sell one to get some money. Gudbrand set off with his cow to town and had no luck at the market. Dejected, he headed the long way back home, which is where the real business took place. On his way home he met a lady with a horse and traded his cow for the horse. Further on he traded the horse for a goat, then the goat for a sheep, the sheep for a goose, the goose for a cockerel and in the end, the cockerel for a hot meal. He arrived home with nothing.

Now you can take a few things from this. One, you can find customers when you least expect it. The market didn’t work but opportunities arose on the way back home.  Two, Gudbrand had a cow and ended up with a hot meal. Not the best day’s work! But now for the second part of the story.

Before he reached his house Gudbrand met his neighbour. On telling him the story, his neighbour cried “The missus is going to kill you!”. Gudbrand was so certain she wouldn’t that his neighbour bet him 100 pieces of silver and hid by a window to eavesdrop.  It turns out Marit, his wife, was as laid back as her husband and was just happy to have him back safe and sound. They only needed one cow any way. And gained 100 pieces of silver from the bet!

There’s a lot to be said in business for being honest and not pushing for the maximum you can get out of someone. Prospective clients and business partners can smell desperation a mile away.

You’ll have come across those desperate for a sale, and probably backed off pretty sharpish. It doesn’t feel good does it? Likewise those clients who want to hammer you down to the last cent so they can be sure they squeezed the best bargain out of you. That’s not a win-win situation either.

I’m sure you already offer massive value to your clients but can you detach yourself from the outcome? I’m not suggesting you don’t follow up with a prospective client or leave it up to them to do all the running. However, when you’re laid back and don’t need the sale, that’s often when the orders come flooding in. Have you ever noticed you’re at your busiest when you’re trying to close the office to go away on holiday, or at Christmas, or just before a major event?

Focus on providing great service, making everybody as happy as your man in the mountains. And present yourself in a way that exudes quiet confidence in the fact that everything will work out just fine.

I’m quietly confident that I can improve your English marketing. Why not try me out and let me put your English Under the Microscope? It’s fully redeemable on any future work in the following six months and I won’t take your money if I think it’s already fit for purpose. You can’t say fairer than that.