It sounds a bit crazy, but kids and entrepreneurs have a lot in common.
They both see so many possibilities and seem to revel in the constant change. This is quite different from most people who tend to avoid change, especially big change. Me, I love it and am always looking for new ways to approach old ideas.
It’s hard to believe that I’m just a few short months away from double 4, and yet I feel in better shape than I have in years. Sadly, the numbers don’t lie. My metabolism might not be what it used to be. Nor is my body’s ability to heal itself. I have aches and pains all over. What little hair I have left diminishes more each year. Yes, I suppose I have to face the fact that I am getting older.
Thankfully, I’m still young. Maybe not physically, but I’m definitely young at heart.
The other day, my wife held up a flyer about a seminar for fathers and how to relate to their children. We both chuckled over it, because we feel I should be the one giving the seminar.
Yes, I’m that good when it comes to being with kids, because I’m really just a big kid myself.
I love cartoons, I love movies, I love messing around and doing silly things, I love gadgets, playing slap…I love it all.
Over the X-Mas break I got the ultimate compliment from two of my wife’s friend’s kids. “Adrian’s different. He isn’t like other adults.”
That’s right…I’m not…and I never will be. As a time management consultant, I’m deadly serious. As a father, I’m a goof-ball who loves playing with my son. One minute I’m talking finance with executives of banks, the next I’m talking about “How to Train Your Dragon” and how I cry every time I watch it.
What surprises me is that relating to kids isn’t something that comes easy for most adults. People seem to forget just what life is like as a kid. I remember feeling left out or bored talking to many adults and made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t be like that. So far, I’ve succeeded.
So how do I win kids over? Easy, I use my 9 secrets.
- I ask questions (lots of ’em)
- I listen (really, I do)
- I play games (hide n’ seek rocks)
- I tell funny stories (we have tons of them)
- I watch cartoons (with my son)
- I get in the trenches (get my hands dirty)
- Be authentic (be who you are)
- Be unique (emphasize your special talents)
- Have fun (it’s what life is all about)
What’s interesting about these though is they not only apply to playing with kids on the playground, but also in dealing with executives in the boardroom.
Let me elaborate.
Asking critical questions is a skill that shows a clear understanding of the material presented, and how it can be used.
Listening is a skill that few of us take the time to study, but it’s the most effective way to establish rapport with clients and coworkers alike.
To find out more about how to be a better listener, I recommend checking out Stephen Covey’s classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Games, funny stories and cartoons are all simply part of associating with the other person. Tony Robbins was right when he said that we have passed through the information age and are now in the entertainment age. Today, it’s not enough to tell people about information, but for it to be done in a such a way that it stimulates us. Stimulation allows for interaction, enjoyment and creates lasting memories. This is something every business owner and entrepreneur should take into account with their marketing and sales presentations.
Getting in the trenches means you’re willing to get your hands dirty. It’s one thing to say you can, and another to actually do something. We want to deal with people who are willing to go the extra mile.
Be authentic. Thanks to the Internet, people are better at smelling frauds. Don’t try and be something you’re not. You might be able to fool some people for a while, but in the end, it’s not worth it.
Be unique. Stand out from others by emphasizing what makes you different. Different is good, it means you have something special to offer people. No one wants a cheap imitation. In business, it’s called a USP (unique selling proposition), we should all develop a personal USP as well.
Finally, have fun. People are attracted to people who are happy. That’s true in life and in business. Kids love doing silly stuff, so just be silly. I make goofy faces, make up silly songs, pretend I’m a quarterback, crawl around the room like a spider, use chopsticks to make myself look like Wolverine, anything and everything goes. Enjoy every moment.
Guess what? Entrepreneurs today like dealing with high energy people who are both caring and innovative. Entrepreneurs today have no interest in recreating what is already out there, but in new ideas that break all the rules. They love out-of-the-box thinking, and it’s something I specialize in.
The world is changing fast, so going with the flow simply means falling further behind. You’ve got to think differently in today’s high speed world. It’s something I challenge all my clients to do.
It’s amazing how much we can learn from playing with kids. Not only do they teach us how much fun the simple things in life can be, but also how to be a better entrepreneur.
See you on the playground.
Photo by Paul Kline