The meeting was NOT going well.
It was like a bad episode of Dragon’s Den - well, that’s how they described it. To our faces. During the meeting. Ouch.
We were missing each other. We believed in what we were saying and offering.
Well, less they didn’t believe, more they didn’t understand.
They looked angry. And bored.
Until it changed. Something shifted. The wall of animosity felled by a flicker of understanding.
For 55 minutes we’d been talking a different language. Our frames of reference different, wrong.
Until a hook landed.
It’s like fishing. When we’re trying to sell an idea, a vision, a thought, we’re trying to communicate a feeling but we’re also trying to help her understand. She can only make sense via her own lens, via her own frame of reference.
Sometimes the hook lands early. Sometimes it never lands and we’re left foundering in a pool of misunderstanding. For ever.
It’s all a conversation. It might be short or long. It might be one time or over weeks or months.
Effective conversation is hard too. It requires good listening. I like to think I’m good at listening but I fear I’m shit really. Writing is easier. It’s all me, me, me without the burden of you (only joking. Sort of).
The purpose of the conversation is to find a hook, a hook which lands in her mind, which is known and understood by her. It’s how she’ll understand how your idea, point of view, product or project benefits her.
Without a hook you’ll flounder in an bad episode of the dragons den.
With it and you’ll step into a free flowing, smooth running river of conversational opportunity. The channels will be open. You’ll be aligned, onside. Sympatico.
But that all starts with finding the right first hook.
For us, in that moment, the hook of understanding was a coffee shop. Why, they asked themselves, did Monmouth Coffee always have a queue of people when others, with equally good coffee nearby do not? This was their hook of understanding. It opened the doors to a conversation about why. And in exploring the why of this example, we could talk about them, their problem and how we could solve it.
Fishing requires patience, experimenting, listening and hearing. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.