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Elicitation with Enthusiasm

I have been pondering the use of elicitation skills in competitive intelligence collection.  I have been using these techniques for many years, but not quite in the military intelligence way, which seems like using the other person in a more negative way. The techniques take advantage of human tendencies to complain, gossip, correct and inform, which certainly works. However, I like to capture the human desire to be happy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile my research assignment is to get information that clients can use to make the decision at hand, I have a relationship goal as well. By the end of the telephone call, my goal is to make the other person feel good about themselves. This was inspired by Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

A great way to make people feel good about themselves is for you to have an attitude of optimism, joy, and enthusiasm while you converse with the other person. Enthusiasm is infectious, and people like to share with you because you are making them feel happy. There are three ways I get myself in this zone:

1. Overall, I don’t take myself too seriously, so laughter comes easily in conversation. Work is a serious, less fun environment for many that I talk to. A little levity is often appreciated, but only if you sense that the other person is open to it. In my experience, most Americans are.

2. I put a smile on my face just as I am dialing to remind myself that happy is a good way to be. There is something about putting a smile on my face that puts me in a happy place. When I first make that connection with the person I am interviewing, they can feel my smile.

3. Before I dial, I get myself grounded and focused, by taking deep breathes. I want to forget about me, and to just concentrate on the person who I will be connecting with, even if this is a cold call. I want to get myself on their channel, sort of like sitting in their chair in my own mind. This also helps me be prepared for however the interview might go, since they seldom quite go as planned.

Being grounded is the one technique that has improved my success in collection more than any other. I can spend all the time in the world getting my value proposition written out and etched in my brain. But if I am not confident and grounded, the person at the other end can sense it right away, and won’t feel like connecting or sharing with me. When I am grounded and confident they will share, since I am in their zone, and the words just flow.

These practices also have another benefit: they help me get to the other person more readily, since I am more absorbed in how they are, and readily forget about myself while in conversation. My challenge is to remember to cover all the material that the client has hired me to collect, since I will often get lost in conversation as I let the other person control the flow of sharing, according to how they are comfortable.

Learn more about elicitation techniques here. Learn how you can become an elicitation expert.

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The Art Of The Email Introduction: 10 Rules For Emailing Busy People – Forbes

See on Scoop.itHolistic Nutrition

Chris Fralic, First Round Capital By Chris Fralic, Partner at First Round Capital in New York. Email is broken.   Do you know anyone who loves email?

Ellen Naylor‘s insight:

Email isn’t going away. It’s a digital conversation, especially when you make it easy for people to understand your message. Great tips.

See on www.forbes.com

Develop your competitive intelligence skills

See on Scoop.itcooperative intelligence
Slideshare Develop CI Skills

Developing Your Competitive Intelligence Skills is an introduction to competitive intelligence, which includes the definition of competitive intelligence, and 5 flavors of competitive intelligence: tactical, strategic, technical, counterintelligence and benchmarking. It also illustrates some analytic tools like SWOT, STEEP, BCG share of market matrix, and Adrian Slywotsky’s radar screen. This is a good introductory presentation for those who are new to competitive intelligence.

How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes

See on http://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2013/04/how-to-think-like-sherlock-holmes/

Ellen Naylor‘s insight:

A longer, but insightful read. There are two takeaways I appreciate:

Mindfulness thinking and that ability to put distance between the problem you are solving once you feel stumped and can do not more. You might just do something totally unrelated to problem solving which you enjoy and relax. Then when you come back to the problem, since you have used your brain in a different way, and relaxed it a bit, you will solve the problem having just let it fester a bit.

Following are a couple of excerpts from Shane Parrish’s blog:

“Forcing your mind to take a step back is a tough thing to do. It seems counterintuitive to walk away from a problem that you want to solve. But in reality, the characteristic is not so remarkable either for Holmes or for individuals who are deep thinkers. The fact that it is remarkable for Watson (and that he self-admittedly lacks the skill) goes a long way to explaining why he so often fails when Holmes succeeds.

Not only does distance facilitate imaginative thinking but it also helps counter short-term emotions.”

Shane Parrish writes on a number of interesting subjects and blogs every day.

I found this one to be particularly relevant to competitive intelligence professionals.

See on http://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2013/04/how-to-think-like-sherlock-holmes/

City Mayors: Mayors from Europe, The Americas, Asia and Africa

See on www.citymayors.com
Biographies of mayors from America, Europe, Asia and Africa

Ellen Naylor’s insight:

and much more…

In a range of profiles of mayors from Asia, Africa, Europe and The Americas, City Mayors’ editors and freelance writers examine what makes an outstanding mayor. They also ask city leaders which of their policies and actions have been particularly successful and could be emulated by other cities. This is a good intelligence source for very regional information. Take note, researchers.

See on www.citymayors.com


Few marketers have a formal competitive review process in place. The extent to which they do competitive analysis typically consists of subscribing to their competitors’ email promotions and newsletters; there is little analysis of their programs. Understanding a competitor’s frequency, use of personalization, and other apparent tactics is a necessary, but often-untapped knowledge resource.

Late last year, David Daniels, a leading e-mail expert and consultant surveyed 333 marketing executives on the competitive intelligence tactics they’re using. The data featured a balance of B2C and B2B email senders. The survey participants were mainly in the following industry verticals: financial services, retail, travel/hospitality and media/publishing.

See on http://sq1agency.com/blog/2013/03/report-competitive-intelligence-the-untapped-resource/

How to Write, Publish and Market Your Book | Social Media Examiner

Self publishing: Guy Kawasaki’s latest book APE (author, publisher, entrepreneur) shows you how to go from manuscript to book, without giving up control to a publisher. Of course, when you’re Guy Kawasaki with his cache and name recognition, people want to buy what he publishes since he seems to often be ahead of the pack in his thinking and research.

See on http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-write-publish-and-market-your-book/

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