“Share your worries and concerns.” With Dr. William Seeds & Dexter Moscow
Share your worries and concerns — Vulnerability is now perceived as a strength, not a weakness. I am currently working with an organization where we have regular round table management meetings and apart from the logistics of the business, we discuss fears and anxieties and requests for support are made. As a part of my […]
By Dr. William Seeds, Dr. Seeds, An orthopedic surgeon on a mission
As a part of my series about the things we can do to develop serenity and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dexter Moscow.
Dexter is an author who has written extensively on the topics of influence and persuasion and the importance of managing emotion in our life which has led him to turn his attention to a subject very close to his heart, the impact of the loss of a parent when we are young.
His father died at the young age of 45 when Dexter was only 10 and although obviously devastating at the time the full impact of that loss was only felt later in his life and surfaced again to affect his attitude to work pressure. stress and life events.
In his autobiographical, self-help book A Voyage Without My Father, he takes us through 7 decades of his life and the coping strategies that he and others adopted to overcome those times when the emotion becomes overwhelming, some of which are mentioned in this conversation.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Yes, Dexter Moscow is my real name. I know it sounds like a made-up pseudonym, but it really is the name that’s on my birth certificate.
You could argue that it would also be a good stage name and although I’ve yet to realize my childhood dream to appear as a leading man on the silver screen, a considerable amount of my practical experience comes from my many years appearing in front of the camera on QVC The Shopping Channel selling £millions of products for major technology companies and other notable retailers.
In addition to these onscreen appearances, for 16 years I worked behind the camera as their Chief Guest Trainer coaching and training guest presenters and celebrities to excel at the art of ‘selling on telly’. In effect selling to an invisible audience.
This experience of, how to create compelling selling propositions, and my career in advertising working for an agency with Mafia connections, in the property as a consultant and training with the Dale Carnegie organization informs my approach to sales coaching and communication in the corporate arena. This led me to write a self-help book Stand Up and Sell.
I realized that the processes and frameworks I used when coaching others on how to sell on TV are the same when we are seeking to influence and persuade our colleges, clients, and customers.
My passion is for my readers to take inspiration from the case studies, to complete the exercises and move their communication from Ordinary to Outstanding
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I was working for Sainsbury’s as a property consultant and had to buy a street of houses. We were to take half the back gardens to increase the size of the superstore.
One of the residents would not even agree to even meet me. This story shows how I did the deal.
“Mr. Moscow, you are unprofessional.” Mr. Khan announced in a raised angry voice, down the phone.
The hackles on the back of my neck stood up. I pride myself on my professionalism and this was a slight I was not prepared to take.
I responded aggressively, “What do you mean unprofessional? I did exactly as you wanted me to.
I delivered a pile of estate agent details so that you could research what was available on the market in your area.”
“That may be so Mr. Moscow, but when I went around to see the agents, they did not know anything about me.” Mr. Khan was still irate. With the same level of irritation in my voice I said, “Mr. Khan that was not the deal. All I said I would do was to research the property in your vicinity and leave the details on your doorstep. In fact, you would not even let me in your house. You made it very clear that you were never going to move.”
Adding, still irritated, “All I have ever wanted to do was come and see you.” After a short silence
Mr. Khan said, “I’m available on Tuesday.”
“That’s not convenient,” I said, “I’ll be with you Thursday at 6:30 in the evening.”
Mr. Khan’s house was one of the last houses in a street of houses that I had purchased on behalf of Sainsbury’s for a new store in Kenton, North London. We needed to use part of the rear garden to improve the footprint of the store.
Thursday arrived and I sat outside Mr. Khan’s house wondering how I could persuade this man to sell his house. Even at the inflated market price Sainsbury’s were prepared to pay, he was still not interested in moving.
A thought then suddenly came to me, histories.
I stepped up to the front door and rang the bell. Mr. Khan opened the door and with a belligerent look on his face looked me up and down. I was ushered into the front room.
“Mr. Khan before we sit down, tell me your history.”
He proceeded to tell me that he had lived in Iraq and when there had been a change of government the situation for him, as a professor, had become untenable and he had to leave. He moved to Iran.
Further upheaval ensued when the Shah of Iran was deposed, and Mr. Khan had to move on again.
That’s when he came to England.
I stopped him there. “Mr. Khan, I apologize. You have been dispossessed twice in your life and I am seeking to do it a third time. We will find a way to build the store without disturbing you.”
His demeanor changed immediately. He brought out a bottle of whiskey, placed it in front of us and we drank half a bottle together (although I don’t drink spirits).
Ultimately, we did the deal and he got one of the highest payouts in the street. He even asked me to carry out a survey on the house he was buying, although I am not a surveyor. He trusted me enough to want my input.
The life lesson I learned was, if you want to do business with somebody, first understand their history, this leads to an emotional connection that resonates at a deep psychological level and a mutually of purpose.
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
Focus on your successes. So often we beat ourselves up for underachieving where we should be congratulating ourselves on how far we have come.
Sit down and write about those times that make you proud when you think of them. It does not have to be earth-shattering.
Use the Dale Carnegie 2-minute story framework:
This should set the scene for the story and describe the overarching incident/issue/problem.
This illustrates what happened. How did you resolve the issue?
The words you use should tap into all our senses. The sounds, the colors, the feelings, and the smells — everything that brings the story alive in your listeners’ minds. (75 seconds)
What was the benefit, life lesson, consequence to you as the storyteller, the company, the team, the individual?
Remember your successes and to paraphrase J K Rowling wear them like the Harry Potter cloak of Visibility.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
Transparency — So often the culture of an organization is that of growing mushrooms, ‘keep them in the dark and feed them sh.t’.
The most effective way is old fashioned but still works; Management by walking around. When I worked with Marks and Spencer, Stuart Rose, now a Sir, always ensured that before any major press announcement the whole business was told first. Everybody at the head office would be congregated in the staff café and the announcement would be made.
This created a culture of belonging. The alternative is ‘Chinese whispers’, where people will make up their own stories.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Dale Carnegie’s book ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’, which advocates putting worries in ‘day-tight compartments’. In it, he writes, ‘If you want to avoid worry, do what Sir William Osler did, don’t stew about the futures, just live each day until bedtime’.
In these uncertain times with coronavirus impacting so many businesses the only thing we can control is our attitude and how we react to the situation.
OK, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious just from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The upcoming fears of an impending coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to develop serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.
Share your worries and concerns — Vulnerability is now perceived as a strength, not a weakness. I am currently working with an organization where we have regular round table management meetings and apart from the logistics of the business, we discuss fears and anxieties and requests for support are made.
Delegation — Trust your team that they can resolve issues and come up with solutions that you can’t do alone. That’s why you hired them in the first place. There is an old management adage that says “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions. That means, what is the problem, what are the solutions, what is the best solution. When working with Lego I posed this question to the sales teams; “What are the problems your trading partners are suffering”. By understanding their problems, they came up with effective solutions to do more business.
Visualization — Allow yourself time to ‘meditate’ on a problem and listen for that still small voice giving you the answer. It may not be spiritual but another element of your psyche. When coaching an individual, I lead them through a guided 10–15-minute meditation that focuses on the situation causing worry. Often the result is clarity and a way forward.
Find a safe space — Step away from your desk, take a walk, sit in the park find a location that allows you to think clearly without interruption. Switch off the cell. You will be amazed at how this enables you to think creatively. My best creative thinking and writing is done away from the phone
Keep a note pad close by — Inspiration can strike without warning. Some of my best ideas and solutions come when I’m in the shower or when I awake in the middle of the night.
I worked with an online sales organization where we instilled this culture of open-mindedness which enabled the team to come up with ideas to enhance the customer experience. Even the craziest ideas were considered. The result was a way of treating customers that humanized the interaction and led to more requested quotes being converted to sales.
From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
Listen — Listening effectively is a whole-body experience. Visual, nod your head, smile if appropriate. Auditory, make approving sounds, repeat their words to them. Kinesthetically, a touch of the arm, a comforting statement.
Talk — Don’t presume to offer solutions. Sometimes people just want to tell their story and by so doing find their own answers. Alternatively, recognize that a real cry for help may need professional advice or a ‘healing process others can provide. Employ a panel of professional coaches or therapists that you know and trust.
Watch — For some it is not enough just to have a quick chat, to offer a few comforting words and then move on. Today suicides are increasing especially amongst young women, so it is our responsibility to look for the warning signs. Where there is a need buddy them up with another employee or take time to check on them yourself.
Think — People at all levels need to be valued and so praise whenever it is warranted. Reward when it is deserved, it does not have to be monetary it can be a token gift that is relevant to them and their lifestyle.
Educate– Part of being valued is to enable people to grow intellectually and creatively. Offer training, coaching, outdoor pursuits, team building activities, and artistic stimuli. It takes us and others out of their headspace and offers a wider perspective.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
Emotional Freedom Techniques is a form of counseling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine including acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine, and Thought Field Therapy.
It is best known through Gary Craig’s EFT Handbook, published in the late 1990s, and related books and workshops by a variety of teachers and use a ‘tapping’ process on various parts of the face, body, and hands. Like acupuncture but without the needles.
I use it at times of great stress and have recommended others who are suffering from phobias or a specific problem where they feel stuck or confused.
The strength of the process is that it acknowledges the negative emotions rather than expecting us to have to think positively. Once learnt the process can be used without the need of a therapist.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“People may forget what you said,
They may forget what you did,
But they will never forget how you made them feel”. Maya Angelou.
Part of my regular business activity is to be invited to give talks at various business networks and symposiums. Often people come up to me after the presentation to thank me for the impact I have had on their lives both professionally and personally from when they heard me previously.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
ADOPT THE 70–30 RULE –
LET THE OTHER PERSON DO MOST OF THE TALKING (70%) — ASK BETTER QUESTIONS (30%)
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!— Published on April 14, 2020