APPLE is an acronym ingrained into every Apple store employee before they ever even step on the retail floor. APPLE:
- Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome
- Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs
- Present a solution for the customer to take home today
- Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns
- End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return
Source: Apple: My Key to Success
What do people regret the most before they die? Bonnie Ware worked in palliative care for many years, tending to people during the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. A handful of themes cropped up in the things they regretted during their final days:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
“I wish I didn’t work so hard.”
“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
“I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
I feel good that I’m avoiding these and that my life is great and full of purpose.
Adventure without risk is Disneyland — Doug Coupland
I’ve been working on a big project for the past 2+ years and we’ve recently hit some bumps. Most of the bumps come down to risk. Risk is a funny thing. It makes people scared. It makes people worry. It raises issues of accountability, responsibility and a number of big decisions for those involved. But most interestingly, it seems to paralyze.
If you deal with risk, you need to find ways to overcome paralysis. If you can’t be brave, committed, make bold moves and be willing to try new things — even when the going gets tough — then you should look for other work. This is a risky world, but without risk it’s just Disneyland.
The always eloquent Mark Hurst had a great piece recently on the importance and value of listening entitled Listening is Hard. Two things in particular stuck out for me as an important to finding a job in IA:
You can’t create something better for someone unless you understand what it is they need.
As UX practitioners we’re often responsible for creating things that are better, more usable, better organized, easier to engage with, that sell more stuff or help reduce costs. Listening is a critical skill to learn.
Take a methods like interviewing and facilitation — these require open ears, active listening, attentive to the inputs being provided. Without effective listening, you’ll likely miss a chance to truly understand the needs being communicated through the words of others.
Consider also usability testing as examples where listening is an important part of the process of facilitating a test. Hearing responses from test participants and understanding what is/isn’t working for them requires attentive listening.
Finding out what they need – often by listening to them – is hard.
Talk to anyone who has sat through days of back-to-back stakeholder and user interviews or conducted numerous card sorts or usability tests — they’ll tell you it is hard. You have to practice.
So how do you be an effective listener?
I saw Wil perform tonight. It was intimate show, small venue with a couple hundred folks. It was a great show. Reminded me of my former days as a musician (I’m a drummer) and the joy of being on stage.
My takeaway though wasn’t just the music. Mostly it is that I seem to have stopped creating things in my life.
I have a lot — great family, good job/career, but there’s still a void. Now I know what it is.
I have to change this. Time to start “doing” and “making” and stop watching. Time to seize the day.