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The Art of Imagineering – helping your client to help you!

Hi everyone and thanks as always for taking a few minutes to read my blog.

I hope it gives you a fresh perspective and perhaps a bit of an ‘out of the box’ way to look at helping our clients, as well as a jolly good, thought provoking and worthwhile way to enhance in your influencing skills!

I completed a great series of sessions with an organisation last week and we were looking at some NLP strategies based on work we’d done over the last 6 months to help our clients identify what it was they really wanted from our product or service. So often our clients don’t really know what it is they want themselves and so it’s up to us to coax this information from them so we can match our expertise to their needs and wants. I’m sure you’ve had this experience.

Those of you who have been on my programmes will identify with my accelerated learning techniques and copious use of our woefully underused Right Brain. As you know this is the part of our brain we can use to amazing effect to be creative, innovative and unique in the way we work with our clients. Tony Robbins invites us to ‘Awaken the Giant Within!’ That’s the way I enjoy inviting my groups to discover new ways of getting the best from themselves their colleagues and their clients, by being  and I quote one of my strap lines here, ‘Memorable Not Forgettable in Business!’

Rickety Rackety Bridge

On this particular occasion a group member said they had experienced a really difficult interview where the client had been extremely vague and obviously had a very fuzzy idea of what it was they wanted.

As a group we went through several of our Right Brain problem solving techniques and trawled through flipcharts with our problem solving diagrams when it occurred to me that my ‘Rickety Rackety Bridge’ technique (more about that in a moment) that takes our client from where they are ‘Problem State’ to where they want to be ‘Solution State.’ If you’re an NLP’er reading this you’ll  recognise the jargon! So I thought that this could well be an opportunity to do some ‘Imagineering.’

What a wonderful word that is!

I call it a ‘Rickety Rackety Bridge’ not only for the memorable nature of the alliteration, but the fact that the route to the other side with clients can be somewhat tortuous! Each step needs careful consideration.

Some of you may be familiar with the original use of this term. For those of you who are not then this link maybe of interest  Walt Disney Imagineering I’d like to give you my take on this concept by inviting you to take your client, conversationally, through the process I give my group members to reach what we call in NLP  ‘Well formed outcomes….’
How about these descriptions of ‘Imagineering’ from this link to describe what the Walt Disney team do to captivate their audiences and that’s what we want to do when we’re with our clients, don’t we?

“We want our audiences to see many of our attractions in a whole new light….and
….reflect a new type of energy……”

Surely this is the dynamic we want to create in our client interviews? By this stage in the sessions we’d covered many ways to be creative, different and effective in eliciting information from our clients including Perceptual Positioning, Walking the Elephant , Cartesian Coordinates and the Bull’s Eye technique to name a few.  As they watched me at the front of the group I asked them to imagine as an exercise of course, that  I’m on one side of the bridge in ‘Problem State.’ They saw me look over the bridge (you can be in the group!) to the other side to ‘Solution State. ‘I then ran a series of questions past them and we recorded their responses. Here’s how a real life  conversation could flow ….

“So, if I ask you one or two strange questions which will help us to find out how we can really help you, would that be ok?”

By getting our client’s permission if you like, we not only improve our rapport we go seamlessly into problem solving mode, together, but we can use slightly different , unusual and unique ways to help get at that outcome that other consultants  would not have ‘got away with.’

To continue…….

”I’d like you to imagine” (and there’s the keyword to access our client’s Right Brain) ” as you see that completed picture where you have organised, decided, completed the necessary actions and got what you want……..

•    What did you have to do to get there?

•    What would be happening that isn’t happening at the moment?”  ….and similar, ‘business acceptable’ questions to get as detailed a picture as you can of your client’s outcome always and I stress this, in a conversational way.

Invisible NLP if you like.

The key to this technique is in successfully building an Emotional Connection through the effective use of rapport skills. Helping our clients find out what they really want and can’t always verbalise is a key skill in business. Of all the skills that we need to develop as business professionals is the skill of developing that Emotional Connection with our clients. If we can hold our conversation in a framework of rapport we make it easier for them to trust us.  My experience has shown that they will accept our unusual techniques. When they see it works the bond is strengthened. And it does, because I’ve used it over the years.

Wonderful word ‘Imagineering,’ don’t you think?

And if you’d like to read all my Top Tips click here.

Thanks for listening and until the next time we meet over my blog have a wonderful Right Brain month full of Imagineering!

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you sign up for my monthly Breath of Fresh Air newsletter, at the bottom of my front page.

Kate delivers in-house training on many aspects of developing Rewarding Relationships in Business at a corporate, SME and individual level and is available for speaking events.  For more details, either email me kate@katerigbyassociates.co.uk or call me on 01743 791835 and I’d be delighted to talk with you.

Warmest wishes as always


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