JAM Session Blog

Musings, Meditations, Motivational Messages and Training Tips on growing Joy, Appreciation, Maturity and Time Management Skills.

Business Strategy: “Make Them Smile”

She rolled her eyes and turned her head up and away from me. Not with disrespect, but with a bright, full-braces, joy-smile in her heart that was reflected on her face.

It was the type of response I had come to expect from my 13-year-old daughter because I know that when she makes that face, she knows that her Daddy is about to say something about her that is true but also makes her feel shy.

It is a look that I understood to mean, “Can you skip the story, and just tell me what you want to say?”

Usually, I don’t respond to the look but this time I did. And it surprised her.

I said to her, “Okay. I will skip the story and tell you what I want to say. In this guitar lesson session, I want you to sing the lyrics to the song you are learning to play out loud so I can hear your lovely voice. Not in your head. Not to yourself. Out loud.”

She was now more surprised than ever because she now realized the reason why, up until now, I had always given her the story FIRST – before telling her what I had to say.

The good news in this instance was when I finally shared with her what I wanted to express to her about herself as a musician and a singer, she accepted and understood the context of love and respect in which the story was framed and embraced the challenge behind what I was inviting her to do.

The business and life lessons I learned from this encounter with my daughter are these:

• Always include appreciation stories in crucial conversations. It is through the sharing of appreciation stories that relationships are built, and joy and trust bonds grow stronger.

• In building relationships and growing trust with clients, co-workers and customers in the marketplace, learning about their hopes, dreams, needs, abilities, desires and interests FIRST, sharing appreciation stories that validate your genuine interest in and concern for them SECOND, and explaining how the product, service or advice you provide offers the best solution for them THIRD, will help them more readily embrace the challenge behind what it is you are inviting them to do.

In one sense this is what “customer intimacy” as a business strategy is all about: sharing appreciation and relating to people in ways that produce joy-smiles in their hearts that are reflected in their being glad to do business with you, and their not being shy about “singing your praises” aloud to others.


— Robert West