Media Release

What if you think the client is a jerk?

A new service promises to improve business performance by cleaning out people’s preconceptions and concerns before they walk in to a meeting or presentation.

In a preparatory conversation, a communication coach uses cognitive science to remove the normal human concerns that are there before any important endeavour. Things like, ‘am I well enough prepared?’, ‘what if I screw it up?’, ‘the client is a jerk’ and ‘I hope they don’t ask me [THAT THING I DON’T KNOW ABOUT]’.

The service, Independent Conversations, asserts that most people go into important meetings cold. What influences their thinking and behaviour is the normal context they bring in to a meeting of that type. Unless the context is identified and externalised, those doubts and concerns (in other cases overconfidence/bravado) are what’s running the show.

In the course of the conversation, whatever issues are there get dealt with on the spot, leaving people clear and open. At that point they can focus, and ground themselves in the intention of the meeting. For this reason they are called Intention Conversations.

Then the protagonist does their presentation and it goes however it goes.

After the meeting executives can have a Reflection Conversation, where they consider whether the intention actually got delivered. What got learned? What went right? Or wrong? What can they be responsible for? That conversation is an opportunity to cough up all the judgements they made about themselves, others and whatever occurred in the meeting. Without that, people drag those reactions in to the rest of the day and subsequent meetings. Being free of criticisms and opinions is liberating and productive.

The business is the initiative of Bret Treasure; a coach, communications professional, and former Chair of the Australian Web Industry Association.

‘In some cases these quick conversations will make more difference to the outcome of an important meeting than hours of practice. Over time they will lead to a shift in corporate culture. For that reason they offer great value and will become common practice.

I’ve called the business Independent Conversations to emphasize the need for the coach to be independent of the business. The person being coached must have the freedom to say absolutely anything on their mind without worrying about workplace sensitivities.’