Diamond...and Improv

July 12 2010

I started my first day at Diamond today. The official name is Diamond Management & Technology Consultants, but that is just way too long for me to keep writing. It’s my first experience in consulting, and I was really impressed with all the members of my training class. We have people from all over, esp. many from NYC. Everyone seems really sharp and outgoing, even compared with typical MBA students.

The entire day was fairly predictable. We learned about how awesome Diamond is various consulting things (the official policy for determining what is reimbursable rivals only the user manual for IBM’s Deep Blue). However, the last training event of the day was a refreshing change of pace and I think will be fairly useful. Diamond brought in an Improv instructor to go over basic improv techniques and how to apply them in business settings.

We had two major activities that I will remember well. In the first, we were in pairs, and we had to start each sentence with the same word that the last sentence ended in. The consequence of this is you have to focus on what the other person is saying until the very end. All too often I find myself eager to reply to a statement before the statement has even been finished. I want to work on that and focus on listening to the entirety of the conversation.

The second major activity revolved around starting conversations with “no, but”, “yes, but”, and finally “yes, and”. The key here is to demonstrate that we can signal acceptance without also signaling agreement. I love psychological stuff like this. The idea is that people are more willing to listen to what you say if they feel like you initially accept what they say. Even if you disagree with a statement, it’s better to reply with “Yes, and…” and finish by expressing your opinion.

I’m really looking forward to the rest of training. I also found out today that I will be staffed with a major global wealth management firm out of NYC. More on that later.

Topics: random and strategy

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