Friday, 3 October 2014

Break Breathe and Be Sales #Mindfulness

Today’s professional salespeople have a lot on their plates, which are likely as not to be of the spinning variety.

Checking in to a University Hall of residence in Chicago a few weeks ago for a conference, the graduate in the queue in front of me was given his code key for the internet link.

  Additional code keys required a supplementary charge.  “Oh, I will need three more please.” It turned out he had not only a work laptop, but a tablet, and two smart phones.
Glazed phrenological bust
 by Lorenzo Niles Fowler (1811-1896)

So in effect four screens of information to juggle. It is the way of modern sales that there is a daily barrage of visual and aural distractions on the senses.

The overload of these stimuli has increased the stress modern business folk have to contend with.

Our attention is constantly being stirred.

The pioneering American psychologist William James observed that

“ the ability of bringing back a wandering attention is the very root of
 good judgement, character and will”

Yet can attention be trained ?

Can you quieten down the jabbering of modern business life  and the continual internal dialogues  in the mind which can lead to over thinking, the constant scanning for problems for which our attention has been evolutionary hard-wired?

Could today’s worldly wise, nay cynical  and commission incentivised salespeople be persuaded that their concentration can be boosted by sitting still and being quiet ? !!!

Our mental health and happiness are profoundly shaped by what we do with our attention at our workstation , speaking to clients over the phone or through conference calls, face to face or for that matter at a seminar.

Yet for good survival reasons our attention is constantly on  “look out” , raising our stress levels, latching onto problems, spinning stories, and interpretations of what we  think might be going on in our clients’ mind let alone ours !

Setting aside a few minutes of each day with our attention focused on sensing rather than thinking can be hugely beneficial.

Essential mindfulness employs the use of breathing exercises to focus on the present moment found in meditation practise, yoga and prayer.

The key to its effectiveness is REGULARITY.

I noticed in the programme for DAVOS this year there were daily sessions of guided mindfulness sessions. Corporations such as Google, E bay and Apple all offer mindfulness programmes for their staff.

Sports stars such a Johnny Wilkinson endorse the practise. So Mindfulness is good enough for the likes of the good and great it must be good for salespeople.
Sales Mindfulness  in essence N.B. Remember the three Bs

Break                 Stop ! Take a break
Breathe              Concentrate on your breath
and BE.              Be in the present.

3Bs of Mindfulness
Here are some simple exercises you might care to try :

  1.    Feel the ground beneath your feet
  2.   Eat a piece of fruit - be wholly absorbed in its taste, smell and texture.
  3.   Breath in for a count of 7 seconds and exhale for a count of 11 seconds

Neuro-scientific studies on mindfulness practitioners has shown changes to the amygda region of the brain- an area known  to be associated with attention, empathy increases.

Maybe the next habit of highly successful people ( the 10th ?) of Steven Covey will be Mindfulness.  Certainly there are more courses , books etc. coming onto the market.

Meanwhile why not text the 3Bs to yourself , your colleagues and your friends!

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