De woorden die je zegt, tonen wie je bent

De woorden die je zegt, tonen echt wie je bent. Kijk maar naar Steve Jobs van Apple. Hij  is een mensen-mens. Hij spreekt over dromen, dingen waarmaken, waarde, mensen. Kit Eaton van Fast Company plaatste alle gebruikte woorden van een interview van Jobs in een woordenwolk. Prachtig om te zien wat er leeft in de geest van zo’n man. Waar het hart van vol, is loopt de mond van over. Jobs spreekt niet over IT. Of over wat ze gemaakt hebben. Wel over mensen. Over denken, willen, waar ze naartoe gaan.

Uitstekende filosofie. Grote leiders die tot actie inspireren vertellen waarin ze geloven. Niet welke diensten of producten ze aanbieden of hoe ze dat doen. Apple is een succes omdat ze goede producten maken. Maar nog meer omdat ze een identiteit uitstralen en uitnodigen er deel van uit te maken. Simon Sinek op Ted.com legt uit hoe grote leiders tot actie inspireren. Mensen kopen niet wat je doet maar waarom je het doet.

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Communications is a dynamic exercise


Communications is a dynamic exercise, it’s being alive and sharing interesting ideas and feelings with others.
It’s fun to discover the multitude of possibilities, to select the best-suited one, and then make it resound across the land in rich tones and color.

What’s your one sentence idea?

When starting a novel, approaching someone at a reception, presenting an idea in front of a group… famous first words do make a difference.
“This is where the buck stops”. “Don’t ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. “Make my day”.

We are all storytellers. The story of our life, our family, our work and our dreams become tangible in the stories we tell.
When you want to convince someone, or when you simply want them to pay attention and become interested in what you say, it is crucial to have your key sentence right.

I once was presented as the new manager of an international fair that was heavily criticized. Some even wanted the event to be canceled. The room was packed with the top players from the sector The atmosphere was polite but tense. I started by saying my name, and after a few introduction words on where I came from, I stopped in mid sentence, took a pause to gather my thoughts and  said “My son just started first grade. When the teacher asked him what I did as a job he said ‘Daddy makes’. Not ‘Daddy makes things’. Just Daddy makes. That’s what I’m here to do. So let’s get to work.”

It was the bold but right thing to say. It had the right tone and content. It showed strength and commitment and the wish to act together as a team. It surprised them all as well. Some of the men in that room now have become my friends. Some I see every now and then and there is no tension left. The event became a success; we worked together to get there. They all felt that I was not there to exploit them, to lie to them or to just do something or other. I was there to make. They remember this moment up to this day.

What is your favorite first phrase from a book? here’s mine:

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. – Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967; trans. Gregory Rabassa)

An inspiring top 100 is here. And here are some new original first phrases, to get you going, perhaps.

Ideas and positive energy rule!

Seth Godin has a new book out, and the Iphone app to support it. As gurus go, he has made and maintained his brand well.
The new one is called Unleashing the Super Ideavirus. Like it. Live your ideas! Have taste! Be in tune with your Hive!

They should force politicians to read it. And then make them discuss it in parliament.  It should be spread for free in business and schools. Spread the word. That creativity is everywhere and the key to our survival and success. Like FlandersDC. They’re inviting Godin over for a talk. Guru style. Put on a show.

We all need  a shot against poverty of the mind. Think out of the box! Freedom! Against negativism and stale management. Let’s get rid of the grey of concrete walls. As is written somewhere in Leuven,Belgium: “Weg met de betonkleur van de betonmuren!” Against negativism and greed too.

Start with your writing, perhaps. One word at a time… (Looking for writing tips? A character name? Want to cure your writers’s block?)
Language IS a great virus. A wonderful virus. Spread the word. it’s more powerful then the sword.

7 steps to deliver what the client wants

What was it again that the client wanted?


It seems the most obvious question of every project. But is it? If you’re building a bridge or a tunnel, a website or an event, a translation or a swing in a playground, there are logical steps you need to follow to reach the right result. Everybody knows this. Or not? Again and again, these steps are not respected.

1. Make sure you talk to the right client
Will the person you talk to have the power to decide on the project?
Who decides on strategy? Objectives? Budgets? Timing? Just don’t start running unless you know where you are running. 

2. Set the scene, define the agenda
Even a simple meeting deserves a clear agenda. Confirm the steps you want to follow in the meeting, to create the best information exchange.
Make sure you have enough time to cover the topics. Leave time for a conclusion and ‘next steps’.

3.  Really Listen
Communication starts with listening. Really listening. Leave space for silences; ask questions that clarify what the client wants. Use examples if they help. But don’t get swamped in the sea of boasting on previous success stories. Think in future results.

4. Confirm and be frank about it
Always confirm what you think you heard. And translate it in clear conclusions. The goal is to know who has to do what by when, who will be involved and how much it can cost.

5. Confirm again, in writing
Even in telegram style, make sure you confirm what was agreed. Do not count on it that the client actually reads your confirmation. Make sure all is understood. And accepted.

6. Share with your team
If others are involved in the process, it is deadly to start off without all heads turned in the same direction. Make sure the technical and ’emotional side’ of the project are clear to all. Often, in theory all know what it is about, but cultural and language differences make that in the real world not everyone is “in synch”.

7. Fine-tune, adapt, reconfirm
Even when all goes well, make sure to give frequent updates on the status of your activity.

Although this is basic class 101 material, these 7 steps are neglected too often. Costing a loss of energy and money beyond imagination.
Not with us, dear reader! Not in our backyard! On time and above expectation start here, today and in the seven steps!