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Scarlett Letter #107: Learning by training

So many of us in the AEC industry are kinesthetic learners, which means we learn by doing. Recently, I was reminded of a similar concept that makes so much sense: learning-by-training.

Pamela Britton, from The Knowledge Environment, was a fellow speaker at the KA Connect conference in Chicago earlier this month. During her presentation, she shared a story from her childhood that goes something like this:

When I was in fourth grade, our teacher was frustrated that the class was not grasping a particular math formula. She said to the students: “OK, go home tonight and teach this math approach to your ...

Tags: AEC training, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, design and construction training, learning by training, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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April 29, 2010

Scarlett Letter #106: Lateral (peer) feedback is valuable! Give it; ask for it!

As spring semester classes wind down at Columbia College, I am always amazed when reflecting back on what I learn from my students. Whether it be overt or covert, they teach me about humanity; learning; give and take; communications; and balancing dreams with realities.

Today, we did essay evaluations on my Oral Communications for Managers classes. The students share (at least) one thing going well and (at least) one change that they would suggest for my future classes—all relating to my teaching style, syllabus, exercises, and the learning environment we’ve created together as a group. I’m honored (AND humbled!) by the ...

Tags: AEC feedback, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, design and construction feedback, feedback, linkedin, peer review, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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April 26, 2010

Scarlett Letter #105: When job searching, write your own job description

This week, I agreed to meet with two professionals in the design and construction industry that are looking for new positions. {I say ‘agreed’ to meet, because there’s not enough time in the day to meet with every job seeker and still do my own work.}

Naturally, I asked these job-seekers about their most desirable position for their next move. As I learned more about them (one seeking a senior project manager position; one seeking a c-level or ownership-level non-technical position), I recalled some advice that I heard while at an event hosted by law firm Schiff Hardin.

When searching for a ...

Tags: AEC career development, AEC job seekers, AEC networking, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, design and construction career development, design and construction job search, design and construction networking, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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April 22, 2010

Scarlett Letter #104: 79% of all leads are dropped!

According to business-to-business sales research conducted by Pointclear, a Georgia-based prospect development company: 79% of leads generated by marketing initiatives are not followed up by sales. Of the remainder, 70% are discarded by sales for other reasons. Only 6.3% of the total lead stream is worked to a viable conclusion.

Yikes! Is that true? In this economy? Yes, apparently so. Speaking from first-hand experience, I admit that my own ‘followup stats’ at Scarlett Consulting are not exceedingly better than those statistics (though thankfully, they are somewhat better).

Two weeks ago, I delivered this presentation to AIA Chicago: ‘Beyond the Magic Bullet: Business ...

Tags: Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, design and construction lead tracking, design and construction sales, dropped leads, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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April 19, 2010

Scarlett Letter #103: Audience outreach…literally! A speaker must connect with its audience.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Albany Park Theater Project‘s (APTP) newest production: Feast. It was a moving piece—full of emotion; clever antics; unique interpretations through movement, sound, and light; and a whole lot of heart.

As a communications expert and advisor, I am often working with my clients (as well as my Columbia College students) specifically on the presentations they deliver in various contexts: formal project interviews; informal client meetings; seminars/conferences; in-house caucuses. While each scenario varies greatly, one element remains constant: The Speaker Must Connect with its Audience!

Whether we had formal training in public speaking or ...

Tags: AEC best practices, AEC presentation skills, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, Design and construction presentations, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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April 15, 2010

Scarlett Letter #102: Story of an online security risk

Last Saturday, I received a call from a stranger who identified herself as a ‘Gold Coast resident and Columbia College of Chicago graduate’. Her message: “I’d like to share some interesting information about something that happened at ING Cafe today.”

It was an odd message, and it scared me a bit. Yet, her phone voice was clearly sincere and professional. So I called her right back, but remained cautious.

Her name is Paige, and she proceeded to tell me that she had just been working on a shared computer at the ING Cafe in Chicago, when she accidentally stumbled upon my ...

Tags: Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, linkedin, online identity, online security, professional services marketing, professional services sales, protecting identity, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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April 12, 2010

Scarlett Letter #101: Dedicated to AEC professionals with no formal business background

“Everyone (in the firm) markets.” Sure, we always say that, but is this sentiment truly entrenched within the culture—and the intellectual bandwidth—of our staff? Or does it fall on deaf ears? Or require arm-twisting?

Since this is my 101st Scarlett Letter post, I am dedicating this post to the health and success of the AEC profession. I write today with a special plea about the future of design and construction: specifically, about the students of architecture, engineering, and construction.

To this day, I’m frustrated to report that many design and engineering schools still do not offer business courses (much less courses with ...

Tags: AEC best practices, AEC communications, AEC education, AEC staff development, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, design and construction curricula, design and construction education, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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April 08, 2010

Scarlett Letter #100: When disappointment strikes in the workplace, can you shake it off?!

Undoubtedly you’ve had a time when you’ve been disappointed about something business-related, and you let it show—on your face and in your mood. For me, this happens when I find out I didn’t win a contract that I worked hard on, when I’ve learned bad news about an existing client; or when I’ve learned something bad has happened to an individual in my network.

I hate that feeling, and I’d like to just crawl into a hole for awhile until I can shake it off.

Unfortunately, we usually hear this rotten business news when we’re in the middle of something else—where, in ...

Tags: Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, cognitive behavioral therapy, linkedin, managing disappointment in the workplace, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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April 05, 2010

Scarlett Letter #99: Buyers, influencers,…and don’t forget informants

At some point in our careers, many of us business developers in the AEC industry read books or take sales training courses.  One common approach is Miller Heiman Sales Performance; they wrote The New Strategic Selling, which speaks to navigating to—and positioning with—prospective buyers and influencers.

So we take these crash courses (either formally, or as on-the-job-training). Some of us rise to the top as accomplished sellers/business developers. Even so, I do find that the accomplished sellers in our industry overlook the value that can be reaped from informants. Informants are rarely, if ever, referenced in any of the formalized selling ...

Tags: AEC client relationship management, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, design and construction CRM, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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April 01, 2010

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