Contributed by Eric D. Lussier
"How are you?"
"I hope you're doing well."
"Is there anything I can help you with?"
"Have a great day!"
From outside appearances, these types of questions and statements seem to show sensitivity and genuine interest by the inquiring party. But what are the chances that the asker is just going through the motions and doesn't really care what the answer is? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that nowadays, it is high. Very, very high.
Some will say that if you ask the right questions, you'll get the right answers. While this indeed may be true, what happens if you aren't listening?
I've thought many times about the statement from Stephen Covey that "most people don’t listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply". So, what if we combined that phrase with the 2,000-year-old Epictetus quote that "we have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak"?
What if we remove any self-interest and truly attempt to empathize with the individual that we are speaking to by being sincere and more so, by active listening? I get it, you're busy. We're all busy. But next time you ask someone "how are you?", ask it like you really, really mean it.
Perhaps you'll hear what the pain points are on a project. What the difficulties are in their day-to-day work. A common bond while outside of the office. Insight on where they believe the future of their profession is going.
That’s it. That’s the post.
Contributed by Michael Chambers
Continuing education for design professionals is arguably the most effective and powerful marketing opportunity available to construction product manufacturers in North America. However, there appears to be some confusion as to what continuing education is supposed to accomplish. In my opinion and experience, continuing education can bring three things to the bottom line. First is brand recognition, second is getting specified, and third is holding specifications against non-competitive substitutions.
There is a bizarre notion that manufacturers provide continuing education out of the goodness of their hearts for the benefit of design professionals. Or worse, manufacturers think that continuing education is a perfect tool to sell product to design professionals. Is there any wonder why local AIA components and a growing number of large design firms no longer allow manufacturers to present programs?
Unless manufacturers can begin to bring excellent programs to the design professionals, the opportunity inherent in continuing education is going to be lost.
One of the most powerful and least understood aspects of continuing education is brand recognition. The biggest issue I see here is that manufacturers do not understand how to brand with education. Successful branding is never about logos or products; it is about high quality education that speaks directly to the audience and provides solutions to design and construction issues. It is never about product, never, never, never.
A high quality program designed for adult learners, presented by qualified, knowledgeable product representatives is the best possible branding opportunity. At the level of design professionals, people brand manufacturers far more effectively than product advertising and the like. Product representatives must be knowledgeable not only about their products but about the industry and most importantly about the competition.
In this same regard, presentation skills are even more critical than product knowledge. A poor presentation will trash a brand faster than anything. Product representatives must be good presenters and have the ability to make effective presentations.
An excellent education program presented by a professional product representative can have an incredible impact on the bottom line by providing usable information and identifying the “go to” resource for the design professionals.
Let's Fix Construction is an avenue to offer creative solutions, separate myths from facts and erase misconceptions about the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.
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