Assess Your Effectiveness at Trade Shows

In honor of my competitive intelligence colleague, Jonathan Calof, 2010 SCIP Fellow winner, I am writing this post on his subject of expertise, trade shows! Trade shows are one of the best venues for cooperative intelligence practices since if you display cooperative connection and communication skills, the floodgates of knowledge will be yours!

Improve Your Cold Calling

Most of my experience with cold calling is following my intuition. However, in the spirit of cooperative intelligence I will share some of the practices that I have developed over the years as a researcher. Like anything else, practice makes you a lot better. I am always thinking about ways to empathize and be more sensitive to the other person and am most effective when I forget about myself while keeping an eye on the clock to respect their time.

How well do you Emotionally Connect?

The devil is in the details: do you know your audience or clients well enough to know how to connect with them emotionally when you communicate? This is often a weakness in competitive intelligence professionals as we are far too hung up with our world of competitive analysis lingo and perspective. Whether it’s a speech, a project or a simple e-mail communication, you have the opportunity to emotionally connect through cooperative communication if you truly empathize with your customer’s position and care to take note of how they learn and how they like to be communicated with.

Integrate Emotional Intelligence & Selling into Competitive Intelligence

Last week I attended a webinar to improve my selling skills led by Colleen Stanley, Founder and Chief Sales Officer of SalesLeadership. Effective selling will help competitive intelligence professionals, product managers and researchers gain respect, cooperation and appreciation from internal peers. Combine emotional intelligence practices and selling with the collection skill of elicitation and watch your effectiveness soar!

Purposeful Cooperative Leadership in Competitive Intelligence

In competitive intelligence and research, many of us don’t have any reporting people and report into another functional area of the company. Thus cooperative and purposeful leadership skills are all the more crucial when you rely on other people to give you great information or intelligence who don’t report to you, and your boss perhaps views you as an outlier since competitive intelligence doesn’t quite fit into anyone’s area. My most purposeful leadership was with Sales while I was at Verizon. I knew I needed to be cooperative in order to gain sales intelligence and customer’s input to be successful in competitive intelligence.

Cooperative Listening

I have found that the ability to communicate cooperatively is invaluable in research, sales and competitive intelligence. Dedicated listening engages me to think of creative questions and comments to keep the conversation flowing, which often uncovers valuable information I would have never expected to learn. It’s also a lot of fun to listen and learn from others.

The Present of Presence & Listening

I think the phenomenon of being quiet is valuable in business as part of cooperative communication, one of the arms of cooperative intelligence. In my fields of research and competitive intelligence, knowing when to be silent is a great gift, since there aren’t enough listening ears, especially these days with all the downsizing in America. Sometimes, people just need us to listen to them, and not offer any advice. This practice also builds incredible trust and connection between two people since you think enough of the other person to stay quiet and listen.

Christmas, A Season for Gratitude

One of the purest ways to communicate is to express gratitude which is one of the practices of cooperative communication. There are so many way to express gratitude. A thank-you when someone does something nice is a good start, especially to those people in our lives who are often unseen as we go rushing through our lives. This Christmas is bittersweet for me as I mourn the loss of my Dad who was such a warm and giving man. I am grateful to have been influenced by such a good man.

Are We Losing the Art of Conversation?

What is ‘social’? I find that the connections I make and the blogs that I read through social networking are shallow in comparison to the connections and knowledge I gain and exchange in conversation. Social networks provide snippets and tidbits of information. As a society are we losing our ability and culture of conversation?

Introduction to Competitive Intelligence

Over the years very little has changed in the competitive intelligence (CI) process, while the execution of the collection phase has changed remarkably over the 20+ years I have been in the business with the advent of the Internet in all its iterations, e-mail, text messaging and more recently through social networks. This also affects counterintelligence, since it is easier for your competitors—or anyone who is interested enough—to dig up information about your company that you consider proprietary.