Following a presentation, on Laughter Therapy, at a prestigious health spa I was approached by a cheery looking guy called Graham. He introduced himself as the Chief Executive of an organisation who were responsible in finding suitable work placements for their clients.
He said his main problem was what he called ‘stuck in crisis’.
His team were very dedicated to the work they were doing, however a series of set backs had created an atmosphere of fear and inaction.
I decided to go and visit them over in North Wales to find out what was really going on.
On arrival I was met with a cold reception; primarily because I wasn’t a local trainer (which translated very quickly into not being Welsh!).
Secondly, I was then treated to a barrage of reasons on why what I do would never work!
Interestingly I could sense they wanted the tools to help them change and were initially too proud to admit they were part of the problem.
So, what to do?
Yes … what to do!
Simple, go back to basics.
And that’s what I did for them. I created a 2 hour introduction session based on simple communication skills and simple psychology explaining whey they felt the way they did… why their clients felt the way they did and HOW they could use their personal understandings to help them.
However, to break the ice I did the following:
Because many of the team spoke and understood Welsh I asked a couple of team members to write out the first line of my ‘welcome’ in Welsh, phonetically.
You see I talk a lot about building rapport and managing peoples’ expectations.
The first words they heard from me resonated with them as if I was ‘just like them’ at a sub-conscious level.
Once the first line was finished, I carried on in English to a room full of smiling faces and a team ready to learn.
In fact, here’s what Graham had to say:
“…as our company’s targets are considerably higher than previous years, I had fears that, due to the problems faced by staff, these targets may have been unachievable … following your series of presentations my team are now 60% ahead of target!
All the team have thoroughly enjoyed your presentations. I have to tell you they are more confident, focused and able to deal with challenges which previously would have been perceived as ‘major problems.’
On behalf of the ‘Team’ and I ‘Thank You’”
Graham T. McDonald A.C.M.A. Chief Executive