“The customer community is very unreasonable,” my client told me. “They won’t listen to my ideas, and seem to reject them before I have finished explaining.”
I’ve heard similar such statements from different clients more than once. There is pain in this. And also a little pride. Maybe it has a subtext of, “My customer doesn’t appreciate me. They don’t know how lucky they are to have me.”
In such situations, as tactfully as I can, I get my client to think about how they present themselves to their customers.
We communicate much more than we realise.
What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.Ralph Waldo Emerson
I think that we sometimes close down opportunities to influence people unwittingly because we have written them off in our estimation. We have limited their potential in our own eyes. There are those little signals we give off, so-called micro-tells that give our true feelings away.
Generally, when it comes to matters of trust, people are not as stupid as we perhaps like to think.
Consider how this plays out in teaching a child. Which teacher is likely to get more out of a child: the one who has a high estimation of the child’s potential or the one who thinks poorly of their student?
I recall a case study where researchers split a cohort of young students at random into two groups, each given a different year tutor. One tutor was told that they had been given a class of outstanding performers and the other that they had a problem class. The children began to behave to expectations. At the end of the year, the first group obtained outstanding results, while the other performed below average.
Are those we seek to influence on our projects that different from these students?