Spend some time thinking, really thinking

George Bernard Shaw noted that despite our reputation as the thinking species we humans really don’t spend much time in contemplation. “Few people think more than two or three times a year,” Shaw reportedly said. “I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.” Stephen Dubner, co-author of the Freakonomics series of books, thinks Shaw was probably onto something and recommends that once or twice each week you challenge your thoughts, run some experiments and determine whether you’re acting according to biases or rational reasoning. “Most of our so-called ideas are little more than received wisdom” that we spout reactively,” he told Entrepeneur magazine recently.


➤ Here’s a neat way to get customers excited about your trade show adventures and the fashions or technology they can expect to see in your practice soon. Before you head to Vegas, prepare an email blast that says: “Hi, the staff and I are in Las Vegas at one of the largest eyewear shows in all of North America. We’ll be back in a week and can’t wait to show what we got. Prizes, refreshments and great deals coming soon! Bring this card in for 20 percent off anything we bring back.” At Vision Expo West, get a photo of yourself mingling with vendors and their wares and add it to the bulletin. Include a P.S: "I put a dollar in the slot machine for you. Sorry! You didn’t win." And then hit send.


➤ When you bring staff to a trade show, do you visit all your old suppliers and let your staff discover new ones? It should be the opposite. You’ve already got a relationship with the older suppliers, so it might be useful for them to meet new people within your business. Since you’ve got extra bodies, place current suppliers at the top of the “To-See List” for staff members. Not only can these exhibitors give valuable insights about current or new products, but your store will benefit from the strengthened relationship.


➤ Looking for something a little different to do this summer? Gary Ware at the Dumb Little Man blog suggests an improv class. It can make you a better listener, train you to think faster on your feet, and perhaps best of all, make you more comfortable with rejection. “Not all audiences appreciate or understand your humor and that’s fine. It doesn’t mean that you’re not good at what you’re doing. You learn to embrace the failure as much, if not more than the success,” he writes on the blog. Real failure, he notes, is not trying.


➤ A few years ago we read a review of Dan Pink’s 2014 bestseller To Sell Is Human. Then, we found this: invmag.us/danpink. It’s a guide to discussing the most important points in his book with your staff. Print it out and go buy every sales member a copy of the book (now less than $10 a copy on Amazon). We’re sure it’ll prove to be one of the most productive sales meetings you have all year.



➤ Schedule a Yelp session every Wednesday to review customer feedback on online review sites. Not only will this allow you to keep up with what people are saying about your business, but you’ll be able to “share any positive feedback you receive in your social networks and other communication avenues with your customers,” says retail blogger Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle writing on Forbes.com. “After all, strong reviews are earned so why not share them?” she says.



➤ Chandeliers add a touch of elegance to many optical shops, but cleaning them can be a challenge; if you’re not careful a rainstorm of dust and gunk can soon cover everything down below. To avoid this scenario, Mary H.J. Farrell at Consumer Reports recommends you open and hang an old umbrella upside down from the bottom of your light fixture. Then use a blow dryer on the cool setting or a duster to remove all the dust, the umbrella will catch it. The umbrella will also catch the drips from any cleaning products you use.



➤ For you sticky note to-do list keepers, apparently there’s a right and a wrong way to peel sticky notes (aka Post-It notes) off the pack. Think side-to-side, not bottom-to-top. Peeling from the bottom makes the notes curl at the adhesive strip. Work coach Martin Schapendonk shares this tip on Whitehorses: Start at the left of the pad and pull the note to the right (or vice versa). Voila, a flat-lying note. This way your notes will have a better chance of sticking to our wall, monitor, mirror or the fridge in the breakroom.


This article originally appeared in the July 2016 edition of INVISION.


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