Grant Leboff: Nigel, thanks for joining us at Sticky Marketing with The Impact Code. For anybody who’s ever seen you speak, you’re very famous for talking about ‘Being in the room’. Can you just explain that a bit more?
Nigel Risner: My whole premise about business is, if you’re not where you need to be and you’re not focused, it’s a waste of time. So the only person who matters in my whole life today is you, because there’s only you and me in the room.
The problem is; what most people are thinking about is ‘my journey to Manchester after this’, or ‘the journey that I’ve just had’. That doesn’t work, because, even though I may not fancy you that much, you’re the only one that’s here and, most of the time, we don’t allow for the people we’re with, because we’re always focusing on the next job or the last job.
Grant Leboff: Absolutely. I agree with you, and you see people messing up because of that, so what are the techniques then? What do people do to make sure they’re not thinking about the argument they’ve had this morning or the place they’ve got to go later? What do people do?
Nigel Risner: Well let’s go back a step. If you’ve had an argument, you’ve had an argument. Finish it, deal with it, or recognise you’re in pain with it.
So one of the things I often do when I work with any audience is I ask, what’s stopping you being in the room? Do you need to go somewhere? Do you need to do something? Do you need to go make that phone call? Do you need a pee? ‘Because if you need to, go and do, and come back! I’m really tough on people who have their phones on, their computers on, because if that’s more important, I want them to do that. If I was going for open heart surgery and this guy had a phone call to make to his mother, I would want him to make the phone call first.
Grant Leboff: Yes.
Nigel Risner: I don’t want him to be thinking about that phone call and then botch the job up. Most accidents always occur – and I bet you’ve been driving a car occasionally and you’re thinking about something else, or you see a stunning girl outside the side of the window – and just for a second, you glance. The problem is, at that moment you’re driving a machine that kills.
Grant Leboff: Yes.
Nigel Risner: You lose focus for one second, and we all do it. Potentially you can murder somebody. If you’re a doctor and you don’t focus on the operation you can murder somebody. But at work, you miss a word in a phone call, you miss an opportunity because you’re thinking about the next sale or the last sale. So, for the next 20 minutes, the next three hours we’re together, the only one that matters in my life is you. It doesn’t matter if I love you more than my wife and kids but you’re the only one who’s here, and when I leave I’ll focus on the next person.
Grant Leboff: Very good advice. So I understand; deal with whatever you’ve got to deal with and that makes perfect sense, so what about being focused on the job? So we’ve made the phone call, we’ve done those things, I’m now with you, but all of a sudden the thought pops into my mind, what am I doing later or whatever else. How do you make sure you maintain some sort of focus? Because I think a lot of people struggle with that.
Nigel Riser: You know I sometimes might say to you, ‘you know what Grant, I’ve just left the room. I know we’re talking about this issue, but I’ve just thought that I must get petrol when I leave here. So how long is this interview going to last because I’ve just thought about it, OK? Oh, it’s going to last an hour, brilliant.’ Now I’m back in the room.
Very often we try and hide an emotion; we try and hide what’s going on. If you’re honest and you show that you’re vulnerable, people love it. Have you ever seen a comedian on stage and they lose their place and they say to the audience; ‘Does anyone know where I was?’ First of all the audience love it. I’m on stage a lot and I’ve no idea where I am, but I tell the audience, and then it’s really cool to find out if they were listening and I say, at least you were in the room – one of us was!
Grant Leboff: Absolutely, so it’s just being authentic with people as well?
Nigel Risner: If you’re authentic, you’ll get away with everything.
Grant Leboff: Brilliant, thank you.
There may be small changes to the spoken word in this transcript in order to facilitate the readability of the written English