or What I learned in 2016
As we come to the close of 2016, it occurred to me that there have been quite a few slogans which have approached meme status during the year. While many didn’t stick, I’ve found three to have been particularly helpful in keeping positive. These included (in descending order):
- “The answer will always be ‘no’ if you don’t ask.” Thanks to Jim Bryson who just recently shared this with me. I was explaining that with all the changes in qualitative (and marketing research in general), I’ve been considering new ways to solve business questions. And, as with any time one is exploring a range of new ideas, there needs to be an understanding that “no” will almost certainly be the answer at least part of the time. It was great to be reminded how important it is to take the risk of asking – even if there is a fear that the answer will be no. (When Patrick heard this, he reminded me that this axiom is excellent with regard to sales and marketing, but when dealing with bureaucracies, the corollary is, “It is easier to ask for forgiveness than to get permission.”)
- “Network as if you are the host of the gathering.” It may seem strange that someone like me who loves to interview people and engage in every manner of qual research might say that they have a hard time with business networking. In fact, I’m GREAT when I know the objective of the conversation and have thought out a variety of ways to probe and explore to gain rich answers. But I don’t think many people like the feeling of their main objective being “sales” – certainly I don’t. (You really don’t want to get me started on the number of vendors who would like me to “partner” with them by me buying their system/product or otherwise giving them business.)
When I heard this slogan, it made a lot of sense as it is easy to see that I’m not the only one in the crowd who struggles with interactions – particularly if we don’t know anyone. The idea of working the room as if I was the host helped to reframe my discomfort of walking up to complete strangers. Reminding myself of this slogan as I approach others, considering what the person might enjoy or like to know (i.e., to find out when sessions will start, the Wi-Fi password, where the food/drinks/bathrooms are, etc.) has helped me to interact with genuine interest and to provide useful information.
- And the most important this year: “Your net worth is your network.”How very true this has been! It’s been a tough year for many of us, but knowing that we have connections and colleagues who think positively of us is worth more than anything. When I’m emailing to share a news story or to say hi, calling because it’s been it’s been a while since we talked – it always makes me feel good to receive a friendly note or hear a friendly voice.
I hope that all of you have learned or recalled a few slogans this year that were uplifting and helped you to stay positive. Happy New Year! May 2017 bring happiness and inspiration to all.