Management January 12, 2010 Last updated February 6th, 2010 4,625 Reads share

Getting adults to eat vegetables …..

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brussel_sproutsGrowing up there were always things I didn’t like that were deemed to be good for me. How many of you hated vegetables as a child? I was a vegetable hater but now I absolutely love them. I guess living with a vegetarian helps but the real credit goes to my mother. As I moved from teens to adulthood similar scenarios (or vegetables) surfaced with tasks/actions deemed beneficial but no real desire to do them. Today I meet many jobseekers and businessmen faced with these situations. Examples include cold calling (definitely the new Brussel Sprout) or networking (Turnips) which would be very beneficial but get little action. I find myself preaching “They are good for you” only to think – Oh my God I am turning into my mum. It got me thinking about how the strategies our parents used could help us “big kids” get to like the “new vegetables” in our lives.

Disguise Strategy – (AKA – Mashing vegetables in with other food)

The evenings spent at the dinner table picking bits of vegetables out of my mash brings a smile to my face. This strategy didn’t work for me in case you are wondering. But the strategy of disguise does work. When cold calling companies tell yourself you are ringing to seek advice rather than asking for a job/new business. This can take some of the fear out of the activity.

By the way – this approach elevates the receiver of the call to expert status and everyone likes to be an expert giving opinions 🙂 So start using disguise and think about how you can change the way you view these difficult activities.

Visual Strategy – (AKA – Smaller portions and hold your nose)

Unfortunately this strategy didn’t work for me and vegetables either. This approach is a bit more daunting as you face into the evil greens but starting with smaller portions does help. In secondary school I hated and managed to avoid public speaking but when I moved to university presenting to the class was suddenly unavoidable. It wasn’t a nice experience but the presentations were to smaller tutorial classes. As time passed at university it became easier and I became more comfortable. Today I love it!! Don’t get me wrong the heart still pumps and the fear is there but not to the same extremes. Start with smaller portions when it comes to thing like cold calling and networking or other vegetables you face (just don’t hold your nose :-)).

Big Stick Strategy – (AKA – Full portions with mother standing over you)

Unfortunately I fell into this category – “we will sit at this table until you eat every last bit of it”. This is what it took to get me to eat vegetables. Many might disagree with me but some people need to be dragged kicking and screaming to a networking event or have someone sitting there making sure they make calls – bring them to the water and make them drink. Greg Fry pointed out a possible solution in a recent post – team up with a friend. Just ensure that it is someone with a stronger personality than you!! Alternatively I will hire out my mother for a hefty fee. She has proven results!!

We have ongoing “Vegetable Eating Lessons for Big Children” in my LinkedIn Group for jobseekers.

As always I appreciate your comments and views. Thanks for reading!!!

Paul Mullan

Paul Mullan

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