A Dog’s View

At the recent National Speaker’s Association annual conference I was wowed by fabulous speakers, wonderful conversations, and useful tidbits I plan to incorporate into ShoeFitts Marketing and my speaking gigs. The event even included a great evening of dancing, which of course provided me with an excuse to wear my cowboy boots! I’ll share a few of those tidbits over the next few weeks, but if you must have some ideas now, my friend Don Cooper published this great article, 14 Sales Tips from NSA 14.

One of my favorite sessions at the conference was Alan Weiss, an extraordinarily prolific author, speaker, and consultant. He is well respected and admired for his intellect and straight-shot delivery style. His session was packed. (Quite possibly because we’d normally have to pay nearly $20K to spend time with him in a similar group setting.)

During his session someone asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” I immediately went to the dark side and thought, “What a stupid question! Sheesh. Who knows exactly where their ideas come from?” Well Alan knows. In less time that it takes to take a breath he said, “My dogs.”

Alan explained he pays attention to how his dogs embrace the world; how they run out of the house every morning simply happy to see grass. It’s as if they are saying, “Look at that grass! Look at that plant. Oh my, oh my! Smell this!” He said they seem to approach everything with a sense of awe and surprise. Everything is new to them. So, when he writes books, creates content or speaks, he attempts to use that same approach and look at subjects with a fresh prospective.

Wow! What a difficult task to attempt, especially in our industry. We get into our own language in financial services. Consider the word remittance. It isn’t a term that is intuitively and immediately understood by most of our prospects and clients. Worse yet is the retirement plan world, where we have so many numbers and acronyms. Even our “product” – 401(k) – is named after a tax code. Often we forget this a completely different language to many people.

Yet, I am willing to challenge myself and attempt to see the world as new and unique each and every day. To cherish the beauty around me as if it is the first time I’ve seen it. On the work side, I am trying hard to look at the content we create as if I am walking in another person’s shoes. How can we create more accessible and understandable content? How can we eliminate any inkling of jargon? Those are my challenges for you, too. How will you try to teach instead of tell? How will you provide clarity instead of confusion? How can a dog’s view of the world make things more exciting?