Creative writing teachers preach this to their
students, and it’s good advice.
It’s all about action. You
can tell the reader how brave and heroic your characters are, but unless you show
them the characters’ actions—what they do, what they say, and how they
think—your story is going to come to a grinding halt and your audience will
lose interest very quickly.
Most business meetings fall on the tell side. A sales manager will tell his team what
they’re doing wrong and what they need to do to improve. A lot of these managers will put on a
show—the wrong kind of show.
They’ll holler and rant and try to make a point of acting like a
leader, and this exercise–this telling—usually
leads to a waste of time and inspires no one. Sadly, these meetings are really about one thing: the sales manager and his ego.
It’s time to turn the clocks back, all the way to
Show and tell.
Remember those days? Some
kid would come into class with a horned toad in a Buster Brown box and tell you
what the reptile ate for dinner and where it came from. The horned toad might move—action!—and
maybe everyone would get a chance to feel its rough scales. You and your would classmates experience the
lizard up close and personal.
Without the lizard the kid’s presentation is not as effective, is it?
So how effective can your sales meeting be if your
manager is just preaching and the figurative lizard is nowhere to be
found? And yet how easy is it for
the manager to have a phone and a list of prospects at his disposal to show you
how the job is done?
“We’re not getting to the right decision makers,” the
manager might start his meeting, phone in hand. “We’re not asking Shirley for the cell phone to get to the
decision maker. We’re not asking
for the sale enough. So this is
how we need to start doing things.”
And on that note the manager dials the first number.
This is not your everyday meeting. It’s live, it’s fresh, it’s real—it’s
By taking action the sales manager is leading by
example. He’s saying to his
employees, “I know the job is difficult. I empathize with you.
And I’m not just saying that.
I’ll show you.”
Put some action into your meetings. Inspire your workers. Show, don’t just tell.