December is upon us! The holiday spirit is everywhere, and we all try to live it up. It’s a time we’re allowed to be gluttonous, spend money, and have fun. Even if you’re not especially religious, however, there’s more to it than that.
On the Facebook page for Cameron Diaz’s latest work, The Longevity Book, I found a great image. Usually, I forget things I see on Facebook in a matter of seconds. This one stuck with me.
We usually associate the holidays with spending money on gifts, going to church or synagogue, or just trying to keep up with kid’s holiday concerts or school plays.
We get so wrapped up in what’s expected that we forget why we celebrate the holidays at all. I love the message behind spreading love and donating food to those less fortunate. But I also wanted to try to apply this message to my work life.
A recent Gallup poll tells us that “adults employed full time in the U.S. report working an average of 47 hours per week.” Assuming you sleep 8 hours a night (ha!) this means you spend about 42% of your waking life at work—not counting commuting and other work-related activities. It’s amazing to think how much time we devote to work. When life gets busy, especially during the holiday season, it’s easier to just go through the motions—instead of being “all there” at work.
Learning to be more present means spending time differently. As a sales rep, you’re already familiar with meeting quotas and deadlines. When meeting with people, you usually come prepared with a script and email drafts to help get through a list of contacts.
But when you get ready to use your script in with contacts, are you actually present?
Your brain is focused on making the sale and meeting your intended quotas. Before you dive in, I want to challenge you to ask open-ended, feedback-driving questions—and then choose to really listen to the answers. Listening to their troubles or opinions, based on your open-ended questions, will allow you to match them with a much more targeted solution instead of your scripted sales pitch responses.
Your contacts will feel more appreciated by your presence—and will be more likely to buy what you’re selling.
Be the Light
If you have “being present” down, I want to challenge you to also “be the light” where and how you work. This means putting an effort to be kinder than necessary to your clients and co-workers—and not just during the holiday season.
The holidays are an opportunity to reconnect with clients who might have fallen by the wayside during the rest of the year. Being the light can also mean reaching out to a co-worker who may not be as excited or energized as you are.
You can “be the light” by sharing something helpful: a new idea, a new insight on an old problem, or a delightful example of sales success. Spreading positivity is an easy way to help bring some light into your world.
Being present in your work, and taking extra steps to highlight the positive, are small, simple steps. Try it. You’ll be a better, more productive employee this holiday season.