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Scarlett Letter #116: Questioning ‘tradition’ in business

At the end of a symphonic concert, we ‘expect’ the conductor to play ‘hard-to-get’. He enters and exits, again and again. Even with a standing ovation, it takes him about 4-5 times before he will finally sit down to play another piece. For someone like me, this tradition of playing-hard-to-get gets old.

Tradition. Why don’t we question it more often? Do you think that the symphony ever proposes: “Hey, here’s a novel idea. Tonight, let’s play until we are completely done, and then simply leave the stage for good?”

In business, traditions are embedded within the company culture: A particular meeting that ...

Tags: Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, challenge waste in business operations, eliminating wastefulness in business, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development, tradition in business

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May 31, 2010

Scarlett Letter #115: Yikes! My blog is (literally) on fire!

Since some of you are sneaking out early for the long memorial weekend ahead, I thought I’d keep today’s post on the lighter-side. {But as always, I’ll make this story relates to business practices.}

As I sat writing my blog a few weeks ago, I did something quite careless.

To set the scene, we were Zocalo, a Mexican restaurant that offers free salsa lessons. I was writing my blog while enjoying a beer and chips. In plain sight was the dance floor with about 40 people taking a group lesson.

I was so engrossed in my writing that I did not observe my ...

Tags: a business observer, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, aware of surroundings in business, best practices for focus, best practices for observation, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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May 27, 2010

Scarlett Letter #114: Part II. Meeting Leadership~~Consent agendas for effective group meetings

Do all leaders excel at running meetings? And, do all non-leaders run their meetings poorly? Nope, on both counts. Anyone—regardless of their role in the firm—can either be good or bad at running a meeting. It’s up to you to decide which one you want to be.

Part I of this post was around one-on-one meetings. Today, Part II addresses my favorite technique for effective leadership of group meetings. I became enlightened on the merits of this technique during my third year sitting on the CREW Chicago Board of Directors. We successfully switched our meetings to use the concept of ‘consent ...

Tags: Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, consent agendas, design and construction meetings, effective meetings, linkedin, meeting leadership, meeting organization, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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May 24, 2010

Scarlett Letter #113: Part I. Meeting Leadership~~Kick-off your networking meetings with an agenda

Has anyone ever said that you were good at leading group meetings? And/or, has anyone ever complimented you on how well you handled a one-on-one networking introductory meeting?

Many moons ago, when I was just a couple of years into my career, I remember a senior associate that I respected in the AEC industry saying to me: “Gee, Anne, you really run a great meeting!” While flattered by any compliment, I have to admit at the time I really didn’t understand the real value of that skill. Of course now, after years and years of inefficient meetings {think: Monty Python’s Meetings, ...

Tags: AEC leadership, AEC networking, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, design and construction networking, linkedin, meeting leadership, networking leadership, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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May 20, 2010

Scarlett Letter #112: Business lessons from an art salon

Two months ago, I attended my first art salon at the Bluebird in Chicago. Created and hosted by Bluebird‘s owner Tom McDonald and artist  JC Steinbrunner, the salon’s intention is to provide a forum for exchanging ideas while providing artists an opportunity to converse about their work. The result: lively discussions about art (and wine) while dining with interesting new people.

Contemporary artist Leslie Baum was featured during the salon I attended. During her discussion, she spoke about her work, her inspirations, her intentions. At one point, she described her studio environment. Specifically, she shared two things that made me smile. ...

Tags: AEC business lessons, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, approaching business as an artist, art in relation to business, design and construction business lessons, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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May 17, 2010

Scarlett Letter #111: When self-branding, leave your cards everywhere, literally

Last month I delivered a presentation to AIA Chicago called Beyond the Magic Bullet: Business Development Strategies to Tackle a Down Economy (Geared towards Small to Mid-sized Firms). The audience was a mix of 70% small-mid-sized firms and 30% job seekers.  As a result, I shifted some of the content in the 11th hour to ensure that the job seekers would also receive much value from our 90 minutes together.

During the session, one of the audience members (let’s call her Joanne) shared her own story about a (past) job search. Essentially, she had physically (not online) posted her business card, ...

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

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May 13, 2010

Scarlett Letter #110: What motivates clients to proactively provide online testimonials?

In Scarlett Letter #109, I wrote about ways to capture testimonials from your clients within the moment.In Scarlett Letter #6, I wrote about the impact of testimonials. To round it out, today I’ll address what motivates others to proactively provide testimonials—on their own;  unprompted.

We know that, in most cases, bad news travels faster than good news. Therefore, when someone is dissatisfied with a service or product, they are more likely to proactively voice their dissatisfaction as opposed to when they are —perhaps exceedingly—satisfied.

‘Difficulty’ can no longer qualify as a reason for highly satisfied people to neglect sharing their feedback. Online ...

Tags: Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, Client Feedback, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development, Social network

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May 10, 2010

Scarlett Letter #109: Positive testimonials—grabbing them in the moment.

How many times have you—as an AEC marketing or firm leader—heard this from the professional staff: “The client loved the way we did this” or “The client really appreciates the way we did that” or “The client cannot stop talking about how grateful they are that they chose to work with us”? Even as a consultant, when I facilitate planning sessions or conduct management interviews as part of Strategic Business Development/Marketing Planning, I hear AEC professionals make these claims.

I use the word ‘claims’ because, unfortunately, statements are not truly credible until they are supported (aka proven). Mind you, I do ...

Tags: AEC testimonials, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, Client Feedback, client testimonials, design and construction communications, design and construction relationships, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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May 06, 2010

Scarlett Letter #108: Varying your feedback for each individual

Leading, managing, and teaching have many commonalities. In each role, for example you must adjust your techniques from person-to-person in order to get highest and best results from each individual.  Even when you are managing just two individuals, you strike a balance between consistency (not playing favorites, not sending confusing messages), and personalized communication.

Let’s focus on personalized communication. Say you are providing guidance to an entire group. You will likely start by giving the same level of direction to everyone, at one time. But later, you’ll have to elaborate or re-state direction for those individuals who might ‘learn’ differently. (We ...

Tags: AEC feedback, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, employee retention and marketing, linkedin, professional services marketing, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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May 03, 2010

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