I’ve been following a conversation over on Robin Dickinson’s blog recently called “Sharewords: the easiest way for us to recommend you“. Robin seems to have developed this idea to help small businesses and consultants market each other, understand themselves, and gain better focus and self-confidence. The conversation it inspired was nothing short of incredible: at the last count there were over 400 comments from people helping each other develop their share-words. I strongly urge you to take some time to check it out as the results have been excellent.

So what is it? Basically, it’s about uncovering the value that a person, team or business brings to the table and boiling it down to as few words as possible, as accurately and positively as possible. In Robin’s discussions there’s a strong marketing flavour to the outputs but also a commitment to get it as right as possible.

Participants need to bring a basic understanding of their own value proposition:

1) What are the *key* benefits that customers get from your service/product delivery (in your words) – best if you can prioritize these from most to least important?

2) How do your most satisfied customers describe the experience of dealing with you (their words)? Again, – best if you can prioritize these from most to least important?

3) What is the *most* unique element of your business that truly differentiates it from anything else out there?

Having read a load of the comments, however, a thought began to develop: wouldn’t this work brilliantly for personal training and internal team development? Everyone is coming away from the conversation with:

  • enhanced self-confidence
  • greater clarity of purpose
  • a strong positive sense of their own value
  • increased respect for those they work with.

It doesn’t appear to be easy, though. Much of the success of Robin’s workshops stems directly from Robin’s own humanity and expertise in getting to the core of people’s businesses, as well as that of other members of the community, so to work the effort needs to be skilfully led.

I’ve been in a bit of team-building from our HR department and they are very good: it’s professionals like these that would need to lead these workshops and help understand the people involved.

Other things I think that characterise Robin’s Sharewords discussion and make it successful:

  • supportive atmosphere. Everyone is obviously enjoying helping and being helped
  • self-motivated people. All the people contributing at the moment are entrepreneurial types, and I believe their self-motivation is being amplified by virtue of them all talking to each other in one place
  • people’s value all being treated equally. Everyone’s value is different and there needs to be a strong commitment to uncover that.

It’s up to Robin, I think, to decide what direction to take the concept. Some have even suggested a book deal: for me, though, the value seems clearest when workshopping this method with expert facilitation.