Tag Archives: business

Creativity in the Building Products Industry

22 Mar

Practice Creativity to Get the Best Results

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“To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong.”

Creativity is a funny thing. People often label themselves as creative, or more likely they say, “Oh, I’m not the creative type.” If you’re in the former category, its time to rethink your creative position.

Especially in the building products industry, creativity is more than designing a great product, putting together a fabulous sales presentation or making your meetings exciting.

Creativity sparks innovation. Have you heard of the artist Henri Matisse? Old age and illness made using his hands more difficult and he became bedridden, but he didn’t let it be a hindrance. In fact, he made a breakthrough in his final years with a new form of art. He found that he could still hold and use scissors, so he cut out colored paper to form beautiful work. He made creativity a choice. He opened his mind to being creative and reached outside of his comfort zone. Are you doing the same thing? Here are some tips to add creativity to your life:

  1. Stretch yourself. Be like Matisse and don’t accept limitations. Set a goal that makes you make choices that you haven’t had to make before. This could be as simple as going for a walk over lunch, meeting in a new spot or rearranging the furniture in your office.
  2. Choose to connect with life and other people. Start a creative network of people that you can share ideas with and provide support to each other. This could be a professional organization in your area, a handful of like-minded people in the office or a new group waiting to be formed.
  3. Change. Think about the rules in your life… Do they need to change? Change can be scary, but it can also be powerful. The building products industry has been doing a lot of things because ‘it’s the way its been done’ but our industry is changing and now is the time to make changes to thrive in the future.

Bottom line – choose to be the best you. Take the best ideas around you and improve on them and don’t hold back for the risk of failing.

For more information, check out Sam Harrison of Zing Zone, a creative author and speaker.

2013 Building Products Resolution: Hold Productive Meetings

13 Dec

Efficient meetings in 2013

Make better meetings a resolution for 2013

I recently read an article about hosting better meetings and it got me thinking about the building products industry. Our industry is full of ambitious, talented people, but that doesn’t mean we always host productive meetings. For 2013, make it your mission to have better, more productive meetings. Here’s a few tips on how to do that:

Everyone should have all of the information ahead of time

  • Don’t use meetings as a place to drop loads of information on your employees. Everyone should have all of the information up front, so the meetings can be productive and action items can be determined.

Meetings exist to make a decision

  • Meetings are not a time to deliberate and discuss, they are a time to come in and make a decision. If you’ve followed the rule above, then everyone should know all information when they walk into a meeting and a decision can be made on the task at hand.

Brainstorming vs. meetings

  • If you really do need to get a group of great minds together to deliberate on an idea, make sure you treat your brainstorming sessions different than your meetings. While meetings exist to make a decision, brainstorming sessions exist to come up with great ideas. Foster great ideas, a feeling of collaboration and inspire creativity by mixing it up. Try having fun props to play with, light music in the background or do something different with the space or lighting to show people that brainstorming is different than meetings.

Start on time

  • And set a time limit. Meetings that take longer than they should not only waste time, but they get people distracted and push them farther off the tasks at hand. Show people that you respect their time by honoring the time limit you’ve set.

Only include the people who need to be there

  • Deciding who should be in a meeting can prove to be harder than it looks, but a good rule of thumb is to only include the people that need to be there.

Turn off all technology

  • Nothing kills a meeting more than someone checking their phone or tablet for email. Make sure everyone understands the importance of focusing on the task at hand to make the most efficient use of time for all parties involved.

Meetings can be productive and efficient if done correctly. Start 2013 off on the right foot by keeping these things in mind. For more information on how to have better meetings, check out Seth Godin’s blog post: Getting serious about your meeting problem.

Turns Out Building-Product Sales Really Are A Laughing Matter

17 Nov

Using comedy to sell can be good for business.

And as experience has shown, good presentations can lead to good business. That’s why the manager of the New York Comedy Club consults with companies looking to improve their technique.

April Joyner, in a recent article written for Inc. magazine, Why Learning to Tell Jokes is Good for Business,  noted:

“If you’re a good comedian, you’re probably a good presenter.”

Since comedians strive to make emotional connections with their audience, to draw them in and establish a rapport, learning the fundamentals of performing standup can be valuable training for individuals and groups who lead presentations. That’s because those connections can be the start of long-term customer relationships.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when introducing humor into your building products meetings and presentations:

1. Plan Your Spontaneity

Stand-alone humorous statements can appear like random accidents, so work on building a routine. And unless you’re Robin Williams, improvisation should only happen after you’ve scripted out everything else. Write down and memorize your jokes, leveraging what comics call “roll structure”—one joke followed by another in a series of related topics. In time it will become natural and adaptable to different situations.

2. Embrace Nerves

As the article points out, “Things that make you nervous are generally things you care about.” So take advantage of the extra energy and focus it on reinforcing weak sections until you feel confident you have them nailed down. Hands shake? Don’t hold paper and instead keep your hands in motion. Fidget too much? Try taking a couple small steps to one side of the room or the other. Rechanneling nerves can provide you with a boost in enthusiasm and make you more interesting.

3. Movements Are Messages

In presentations and meetings, we too often focus on what we’re saying and pay little attention to how we’re saying it. Watch someone perform standup, and you’ll quickly notice that their delivery is a vital component of their routine—if Steven Wright paced and waved his arms, his dry sardonic humor would fall flat. From where they walk (or if they walk at all) to the scale of gestures and expressions, the non-verbal speaks volumes.

4. Practice Makes Performance

Dolly Parton is known for saying, “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.” Similarly, it takes a lot of practice to make comedy seem natural. Only when we make an action habitual through repetition can we truly master it. Practicing and rehearsing your delivery is critical to making it a natural component of your presentation. Fact is, good comedy is rarely an accident

5. Get Personal

The best material you have is likely from your own life and experiences in the building products industry. Learning to relate stories and anecdotes makes your presentation more interesting but also make you more likeable. It adds depth and dimension to your content, piquing the curiosity of your audience and making them more engaged.

Even if you don’t have access to a professional comedy club, making use of friends, coworkers, and those “funny people” we all know to critique your jokes and offer suggestions is a great way to get started.


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