Thinking Clearly — Archive of past newsletters Volume 1

#103 – business with grandmothers and broccoli

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Dear friend
For the past two months I have been doing some market research for my executive coaching business. With generous help from my dear friend Nico, we have interviewed some of my past clients in order to really hear how they understand the process, what value they got out of it and what words and phrases they would use to explain it to others. It has been truly wonderful to listen to all these stories and I’m so grateful that everyone was willing to take the time to participate. In one of these conversations last week, I was reminded of an exercise I had suggested to a client that was struggling to clearly explain their mission. In our next session together I got to hear a version of their mission statement explained to a six year old, using broccolit and other unusual stuff, and it was quite insightful.

The trick here is really to force yourself to explain what your company does to someone who doesn’t understand the words you would normally use. A kid is a good choice unless you’re a toy company. A grandmother is also useful here. Pick someone you know – a nephew, your friend’s daughter or your wife’s grandmother. Draw a little stick figure to illustrate the person and write their name. Try to imagine their daily life and their experiences. A grandmother used to growing her own food in the garden. A kid who is asked to eat broccoli even if he doesn’t like it. Take notes. Then use these insights to explain what you and your company does.

With love until next week

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