It’s a dreary and cold Tuesday a couple of months ago. I’m early, too early as it pans out. All lights at my client’s office are still out and the doors are locked.

One by one I’m being kept company by the early birds who will join my “call event”. Finally: a gatekeeper! We’re being welcomed to warm ambiance, coffee and tea before we kick-off our one day event.

“Call events” are one of the training concepts that I’m totally fond of. They’re aimed at teaching cold outbound calling to prospects, but with a twist. We request each and every attendee to bring their own hitlist, their very own, real-life, prospective client list.

The event doesn’t only teach tangible scripts, tools and approaches for - cold - calling, it’s doing so by … doing. Short, inspiring, training sessions are interspersed with hands-on calling sessions, with real-time feedback from peers, managers and me. The one and true aim of this approach? To learn by doing and thereby achieve real benefits and targets: either more information from the prospect, or an appointment to meet up face to face.

It’s the first break-out session and I’m teaming up with Ann, who has a hearing disability in both ears. A little earlier, we had an interesting conversation over tea where she confided that she hadn’t been invited to the training in the first place, but that she really wanted to come, despite the lack of confidence from her managers in her commercial abilities. It’s these kind of stories that rile me. We can be so debasing to each other and my talent focussed approach is so linearly opposed to this kind of thinking.

Ann had requested a secluded place to call and we found a small meeting room that met her needs completely. First call didn’t go so well, neither did the second. Suddenly Ann hands me the handset and she asks: “don’t you think this handset is incredibly low volume?”. I agreed and suggested that she use the speaker phone instead. She looked at me with surprise in her eyes: there had never been anyone to suggest that to her in her 20 year career.

Through this improvement in her conversation and listening experience, amplified by guidance and real-time feedback, Ann quickly improved. To such an extent that I traded places with one of the managers in the next round. I still remember the look on the face of that manager exiting the small meeting room 45 minutes later. Ann had called 8 prospects and managed to schedule 4 face to face meetings, a conversion rate of 50%, double that of the group average.

Looking back at what I’ve written, it seems that the title of this blog might have been a little misleading. Yes, we’ve talked about the power of real-time feedback, but we’re also touching on our starting point as feedback givers. Are we coming from a place of respect, of hope, of love, of appreciation, or do we try to debase, how well phrased, scripted and executed our feedback may be?

What are your stories on growth and the power of someone else’s input? I look forward to hear your voice or read your words.