Category Archives: Think Jeannie

No one listens – including me!

We are consumed by our mobiles, iPads, social media and all things digital. That in itself is not really news. What I have just realised is how much we don’t actually listen to what others are saying because we are so engrossed in our own digital worlds.

How has this suddenly dawned on me? It was because of a story my mother was telling a friend of mine. She was recanting how if it wasn’t for my aunt intervening she may never have given my father a second chance at the tender age of 16. I thought I knew most things about my parents and I am sure my mother has told that story before but I wasn’t paying attention. With so much on my mind and calls and emails constantly pinging on my devices, I didn’t listen. And now that my mother is elderly and frail, I realise just how important it is to take in all this information.

This isn’t really about just taking in my gorgeous mom’s recollections. It is a sudden lightning bolt that my attention span has been diminishing as time goes by.  How many of you have gone to a lecture or even a meeting and kept an eye on your mobile? How many of you have had lunch with a good friend telling you their problems and your phone was face up on the table? Perhaps you have answered a business call while sitting at your desk with one eye still on your emails or reading Facebook? Is your iPad sitting on your sofa next to you while you watch tv?

There are very few view people I know who couldn’t say ‘yes’ to at least one of those questions. I do know some people who shun mobiles and emails almost completely and happily but they are few and far between. And perhaps to generalise, the younger you are the less you are conditioned to listen well.

Think of how much you are missing out. In an age of information overload, try simply taking in the things your family and friends are telling you. That goes for work colleagues and customers too. Listen well, listen intently and you may just be surprised to hear what you’ve been missing. I’m learning to walk away from my mobile and computers for a number of hours a day. Maybe baby steps but it feels good to realise I haven’t actually missed anything really important in that time. It also means I am starting to slowly absorb the small stuff I have grown to ignore.

Saying ‘No’ can be a Good Thing

In my many years of working and being in business, I had always thought that you never say ‘no’ to any customer or potential customers (apart from the most ridiculous requests). I think I married that along with the ‘customers always right whatever’ philosophy in my psyche. Last year, though, I thought I would try a few ‘noes’ and the result was I lost no business but gained a bit of professional happiness and confidence.

Very often the more you give, the more someone takes. I don’t blame anyone for that for it is the person giving that has allowed the situation to happen. If you are worth your weight though then your clients and friends will take whatever you give. I don’t suggest you short change anyone but I think it is fair to set boundaries and keep to them.

Take for instance after hour or weekend calls and emails. I used to jump on all emails no matter when they came in. I always seem to have my mobile or iPad to hand even when I am relaxing in front of the television or reading the newspaper. Last year I decided that my limit to replying was 6pm and anything after that time would get a response in the morning. Lo and behold, no one seemed to mind.

The same goes for meetings. I started telling new clients a few years ago what my hours of availability were and they did not include nights and weekends (without prior agreement for the odd time). That set my boundaries and hasn’t affected business one bit.

One of the hardest ‘noes’ is turning down a new business opportunity. I find saying no to anyone asking for my help very difficult but realistically you do need to understand what business you want to do and what that is worth. I have taken my fair share of work on that just doesn’t pay so I am learning the fine of art of turning down work. It isn’t always easy saying no in this case but when you do, it can be very empowering.

All this goes a long way to achieving a better work-life balance. We all deserve our own space and me-time as well as contentment for what we do. Clients will understand this as long as it is clear from the outset. And think of it as doing them a favour too as you will be in a better place to help them and not waste time – you might also be teaching them the idea of doing the same.

Here we go – launching my new Website (hooray – long overdue)

It is with great pleasure I bring you my new website. I’ve waited years to say that (truly). It has been on the agenda now for over 2 years while other things have taken priority.

I see it so often especially for those in business development. When you’re busy, it is hard to justify taking the time to do your own marketing.  I guess you could ask that if you’re busy, then why do you need to do it? That is a very short-sighted approach. And you can’t really say to your clients and potential clients ‘do as I say, not as I do’, can you?

Business may be good now you never know what is around the corner. It takes months, sometimes 6 months or more, for new business marketing to kick in. By that time, if you haven’t kept your profile high, it may be too late. There is always way to handle too much business (what a great position to be in) but the opposite, chasing it, is far harder.

Back to the main topic of this post – a new website I am proud of. It looks great, it is responsive (for those of you who don’t have a responsive site, did you know that Google isn’t indexing your site and it will fall lower in lower in search?) and hopefully gives you a good idea of what assistance I can be to you.

Please have a look around the new site.  See the great bunch of people I work with and are proud to call my colleagues and team. Have a look at the various ventures I am involved with (and always keen to find more interesting opportunities). If you are looking for business out of the UK into North America, check out ‘Across the Pond’ and how I can help in either direction.

Your feedback is important to me. I know you see that a lot but I mean it. I think you can learn by listening. If you see something you don’t like or understand, I would love to know it (I am tough, I can take it). Happy to hear if you like it of course but any comment gratefully welcomed. Thanks for taking the time to read this and hope you’ll come back to my site again (and again and again)!