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What Color are Your Thoughts?

by guest author

Evelyn Clark




Read this article ONLY if you want to increase your income, sell your clients on designs, and keep your clients happy..

If you'd like to be more effective in achieving such goals, you may need to change the color of your thoughts.

Green Light ® , a term coined by Seattle Creativity consultant Marilyn Schoeman Dow, "is putting your foot on the gas and moving forward; it implies you're already in motion, and usually leads to a win-win outcome," Marilyn explains. "The opposite approach to problem-solving is red light, which is putting on the brakes, screeching to a halt, and raising doubt that there will ever be motion. Nobody wins; nothing is accomplished.

"In today's world, red light thinkers disappear fast," Says Marilyn, president-elect of the American Creativity Association. "Red light thinking is no longer a viable option; innovative thinking, negotiation and team building a real key routes to success."

To illustrate how to apply "Green Light ®" to running a design business, let's use the example of preparing for a client presentation. Wouldn’t you like to be better prepared to overcome (not ignore) client objections to you designs? Wouldn't you like to know how to work more effectively with clients who have strong opinions that you know wouldn't work?

Here are some questions a Green Lighter would ask in those situations:

Why is the design a good idea?

What's my plan to show the client why it's a good idea?

What do I expect the objections to be and how can I head them off at the pass?

If you think of Green Light ® as a game - and think of an objection as an invitation to play the game, situations that used to be frustrating will actually be fun (most of the time?).

"For example, when a client says a design is too risky, it's probably because it's new and unknown. You need to show them symbols for concepts they're familiar with that might have seemed risky, but in fact were successful, "Marilyn says. "Also, consider presenting three designs in descending order of riskiness. Because the first one you show is really 'way out' and the second less so, by the time the client sees the third one, it's likely to feel save even though, by itself, it may be out on the edge.

"Another way to address or accommodate client concerns is to brainstorm new ways to approach a presentation, "Marilyn suggests. "Ask yourself as many creative questions as you can think of, such as: How could I change the sequence of my presentation? Or switch the rationale? (The reason you like it is not what's important, but why will the client like it?)

"How long will the design be useful? How can I make it memorable? How can I make it huggable? How can I hook the emotion and put the client into the environment as though it's already happened? Consider 'futurizing' the design - start with one and then move to the next adaptation; demonstrate how it will be useful for long period." You can do this kind of thinking on your own. There are also tools on the market that will help you generate a nearly endless list of questions and options. Marilyn's problem-solving product is called 'The Idea Activator'. It triggered the following questions:

How can I promote a global view, or a global application?

What will "satisfice?" (What is sufficient and also satisfactory?)

How do you stop before refining too much or becoming too costly (an approach known as "value engineering")?

How can I tell the corporate story with the design?

How does this address the diversity and age segments issues?

How can we add mystery? or whimsy? or surprise?

According to Marilyn, the key is to think about various ideas and determine, "Yes, it fits or no, in this case, it doesn't apply.

"Green Light ® first gives you confidence and courage, and then a strategy - a style of action - so that you are better prepared, more flexible, more versatile, and more creative in every aspect of business. The same style of action can be applied to your entire life.

My wish for everyone is: As you pursue your passions, may you see Green Lights all the way!"

Evelyn Clark, corporate storyteller, Clark and Company,




Owner of ThinkLink and past-president of the American Creativity Association, Marilyn promotes innovative action, teambuilding and managing change in keynotes, coaching and seminars. Her products include BOFF-O!® (Brain On Fast Forward) problem solving deck/system.

For information about presentations and strategizing sessions, contact Ms. Dow at ThinkLink in Seattle, WA by email or by calling 206-200-7212

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