These come from the timeless and wonderfully light-hearted reading of Dale Carnegie written in 1936. I have a habit of keeping humble in front of classics. I re-read parts of them often. It's a lesson in any trade to practice the basics very often. I have heard that from my jiu-jitsu teacher and from technology professors in New York. If you haven't read it a few times, start now.
Spread enthusiasm. I have never seen a completely dispassionate designer. Fonts, methods, findings, insights, serendipity or infographics are a few of my passions in this job. I once was told I didn't have to talk like it's Christmas. I felt plain silly at the occasion. Till I didn't care about sounding one way or another. I still emote what I am feeling in my voice, text or slide deck.
Infuse importance. I am not for manipulation (now known as social engineering, which to me is a bit misleading term). But reminding people how their project will objectively affect the client's business, our business and the day to day of the end-users is important. Designers at times get desensitized with the figures we deal with. €15,000 is a week may be a week project for a top tier designer. But it's also the price of a family car in pretty good shape. Keep it real, folks, and it will be infused with importance.
Help people get what they want. This is a crucial one. I tend to doze out when talking for a long time with someone. I drift in my thoughts, start getting ideas and start ideating solutions (which I shouldn't; the first focus is always the problem). But at times I get to ask myself, even more than once: what does this person want? I say it again in my head: but, really, what does she want? This question is rarely answered. Everyone in business has their own agenda, and there's nothing machiavellic about it. If you figure it out, you will notice a fundamental change in your entire attitude: no longer you feel you are championing, showing, delighting, dazzling for the sakes of your own self. You will feel like a true facilitator of, simply, what needs to be done. But first, you need to figure out what is the uncovered motivation of that person. To that, I will leave here a dialogue from The Silence of the Lambs which tells everything:
Hannibal Lecter: I'll give you a chance for what you love most. Clarice Starling: And what is that? Hannibal Lecter: Advancement. Listen carefully. Look deep within yourself, Clarice Starling.
Thank you, Dave and Dr Lecter, for a lesson in business psychology. 😉