You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2007.

Dale CarnegieOn the subject of gravity once more today we look at directly engaging in conversation with people for the first time. How do we make others interested in ourselves and our businesses? How do we influence people to engage in further discussions with us? How do you stand out from the crowd?

This was a subject Dale Carnegie approached within his 1936 book “How to Win Friends and Influence People“. In the section entitled “6 Ways to Make People Like You” he covered the following methods:

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people
  2. Smile
  3. Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves
  5. Talk in the terms of the other man’s interest
  6. Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely

Bearing those 6 points in mind let’s re-evaluate those statements some 71 years later.

  1. Showing you are genuinely interested in what the other person has to say is of vital importance to keeping your fellow conversationalist engaged. This doesn’t mean random overstated nodding of the head, and grunting sounds of approval/disapproval, no it means keeping your focus. Keeping your attention and your gaze fixed on the person who is talking with you is imperative. If your gaze wanders to something interesting happening in the background even for a split second you’ll lose that persons confidence.
  2. Smile. Of course you should smile but only when it’s appropriate. Don’t be a miserable old sod and don’t constantly grin like a Cheshire cat.
  3. Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language”. Hmm, not sure about this one. Some people don’t like their names so to describe them as sweet sounding to the owner is somewhat presumptuous. However people do like to be remembered and showing that you know a persons name by calling them by it is always reassuring. I’m terrible at remembering a persons name but there is a trick I’ve learnt that can help with it. When you are first introduced to a person repeat their name back to yourself 5 or 6 times as you look at their face – associating a picture with a word effectively, seems to work for me. Let’s also not forget that we do often speak to women too in this modern world and they speak to us too! 🙂
  4. Being a good listener isn’t just about keeping quiet and taking it all in, it’s more about active listening. Active listening is all about showing you understand by demonstrating you can relate to what the other person is saying. This can be through a series of well-timed nods or relating a similar experience back to the other person at an appropriate moment. Don’t interrupt though.
  5. Back to those men again. This is once again about active listening, the objective of which is to demonstrate mutual understanding of the person/topic. Don’t overstretch yourself though – if the subject is about football and you know nothing of football do not attempt to blag it as you will look like a fool. Instead find a conversational track that stems from football which you do understand, e.g. the building of the new Wembley Stadium.
  6. Making people feel important is top for keeping that contact interested in meeting up with you again. Compliment them on something they have said or have done and make room in the diary to meet up with them again. An loose comment around “let’s do lunch sometime…” just won’t cut it.

Dale was one of the pioneers of self improvement and even though his statements are a little out-dated they still hold true to the principles of modern interpersonal skills.

There will be more from Dale in the future.

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Our most recent module for The Platform was entitled Gravity. You don’t need much of a scientists mind and you don’t need to sit under an apple tree for hours waiting for the inevitable to happen to understand the principles of gravity.

So, we have designed a whole new model based around gravity which demonstrates how a person can attract more business just by simplifying their whole work and marketing ethic. After all pulling business towards you is far easier than trying to chase it down.

Below is a sneaky peak at the Gravity Model, click on play to watch and enjoy.

For more info on the Gravity Model and The Platform please contact us.

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I got sucked into this documentary the other night on Channel 4: Simpleton or intellectual bore – which one are you and whose the happiest?  Ricky Gervais sidekick Karl Pilkington (a self-confessed simpleton) went on a mission to find out if intelligence equals a better, happier life……..Read about his visits to Germaine Greer, Will Self, David Icke etc…………… 

I’m with the author on this – I’d rather spend a night down the pub with Karl than 2 mins with Will Self (how aptly named he is)

Karl’s IQ was 83 and apparently the national average is 100.  If you’re curious about your IQ like I was at the end of this take an online test and see how you fare: know it’s not important what your IQ is but it’s a bit of fun!

Steve Jobs on design –

“You know a design is good when you want to lick it.”

From Tom Peters’ blog. Original source Design: Intelligence Made Visible by Stephen Bayley (Author), Terence Conran (Author).


You may think we have little in common with those amazing pilots that fly the Red Arrows but you might be surprised….

Mission Excellence ( is a team of former Red Arrows, fighter pilots and training experts who now specialise in the development of leadership, teamwork and execution skills. They think these are the 3 most important elements for business success:

  • understanding leadership and followership behaviours
  • empowerment
  • debriefing

They cite debriefing as the single most powerful tool in the military environment that can be used with similar success in business. Which got me thinking:

  • When did we last debrief?
  • Do we do it regularly with clients?
  • Do we do it internally after every project?
  • Should we do more?

According to Mission Excellence: Debriefing is our single most powerful tool for improving performance – a combination of performance assessment, executive coaching and 360 feedback all rolled into one. It underpins both our constant striving for performance improvement, as well as being a key factor in leadership development.

Small mistakes, if not identified and addressed correctly, will eventually combine to result in poor performance and failure. Read the full article at and get debriefing!

spectaclesIn today’s post we are heading back to school to rethink some old playground mentality.

Seth Godin is having to wear spectacles and he raised this question of stigma:

Why do we look at people wearing glasses and think they are smarter? Why do we look at people wearing a hearing aid and treat them as if they are dumb?

This got me thinking.

Back at school the smart kids wore the glasses and they got made fun of but you’d always go and ask them for help if you got stuck. The kids wearing the hearing aids were quite often loners who we knew not to make fun of because we were told not to. The problem was every kid pokes fun at every other kid but the hearing aid stigma meant their was very little to talk about with the hearing impaired kids and they very often got left out completely. Chances are that hearing impaired kid was the smartest kid on the block but we never knew.

The same goes for business when we look at out competitors and our competitors look at us. In this material world first impressions count and we can be quite easily taken by surprise when a stealthy competitor who we believe to come from a “poorer” neighbourhood usurps us and gets the big contract we were guaranteed to win.

It’s time for us as businesses to stop ganging up with our mates and poking fun at the small startups. Perception is both everything and nothing. You don’t have to be big to be clever and you don’t have to be clever to be big.

Just because one company has mirrored windows doesn’t make it any smarter than the company with the drafty sash windows.

How is your business perceived?

image courtesy of 

The Marton House leadership video, “From the Mouths of Great Leaders” has just hit 10,000 viewers on YouTube! Have you seen it yet? If not, you don’t have to go far as you can find it just below this message.

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duncan bannatyneIt’s one of the oldest sayings in the book and usually said by someone who is jealous of somebody else’s success but is it really true? How come people like the dragons from Dragon’s Den earn so much? Is it because they already have lots of money already and the gravity of that cash just pulls more loot in? Well, partially yes.

“Speculate to accumulate” is another old term which, to be honest runs hand in hand with “money comes to money”. Contrary to popular belief you don’t need a lot of money these days to setup a business and that has never changed. For less than a fiver you can set up a website and you can drive traffic to that site for free. Traffic = business. The rule of thumb for a business website is one purchase in every one hundred independent hits. If you can create gravity for your business you could earn double what that website cost within minutes. Money comes to money, albeit small.

Start small but think big.

Let’s go back to the dragons again and look at Duncan Bannatyne as an example.

Bannatyne came from a relatively poor family and began his career in the navy. After being kicked out at the age of 19 he bounced around from job to job until in his early thirties he bough himself an ice-cream van for the small price of £450. The profit he made from selling ice-creams from that one van bought him another van and then those 2 vans profits bought him another and so on until eventually he sold his business for £28,000. With that money he bought a nursing home and applied the same methodology. Eventually he sold his fleet of nursing homes for £46 million in 1996. Then he used that money to set up a health club business and applied the same techniques. His empire is now estimated to be worth around £200 million.

Money comes to money indeed but only through hard work. Now when you see Bannatyne on Dragon’s Den investing in some young entrepreneurs idea, usually it isn’t just a punt, it’s more of a calculated risk.

If somebody came up to you today and said if you give me a fiver I guarantee tomorrow I’ll give you back a tenner you’d do it wouldn’t you? The next day that tenner could become £20, the next £40, the next £80 and so on.

Money does indeed come to money but you need to know and understand the best place to invest your fiver in the first place.

For all you modern marketing naysayers out there who insist that viral marking is the same as good, old fashioned word of mouth I urge you to check out Seth’s post today. If you are firm in your beliefs it isn’t going to change your mind but it will give you a clear definition of both terms.

After all there is plenty of room in the world of business for both and also a need for both too.

Bob RossWhen it comes to the 4 influencing styles one of the most natural for many is Energising.  Part of Energising is of course painting pictures – the ability to show others what a great future could look like.  It’s a little bit of storytelling combined with a little bit of lying, or at least embellishing on what might be (think Baron Münchhausen combined with a politician).

So we do it regularly in order to influence others towards success but how often do we paint pictures for ourselves?

Take a minute out from your busy schedule today to imagine what could be.  Paint a really great picture of  what you want life to be like, you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve.  We must truly know and understand the goal before we can make decisions upon which road to tread towards success.

If we can’t motivate ourselves how can we be expected to motivate others?

The picture above is Bob Ross, a man who accomplished great things by painting real pictures.  His TV show, The Joy of Painting ran for 12 years from 1983 until his untimely death in 1995 and influenced many along the way to change their lives for the better through the simple medium of painting.  For Ross every picture he painted told a story, which he proclaimed was one of the most important things when it came to painting as it would motivate the painter to complete the painting and discover how the story ends.

If Ross motivated millions by painting pictures is it really so hard just to motivate ourselves with our own picture?

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