Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Marketing Tips from Hell's Kitchen

Anyone else obsessed with Gordon Ramsey and Hell's Kitchen? It's one of those reality shows (OK, so it's not Masterpiece Theater) where contestants attempt to win their dream job- running a million dollar restaurant in Las Vegas.

During the season finale on Monday I realized they had cooked up some fairly good lessons for mediator/marketers. Taste these and see how you like them:

Have a Vision

Chef Ramsey challenged each of the final two contestants to create their vision of a Vegas restaurant from the menu's signature dish right down to the linens and wait staff clothing. Each piece was meant to work flawlessly with every other to create a perfect experience.

If you want to have a thriving mediation practice, you need a vision of what experience you want to create for your disputants. What will the overall experience be like? Be specific. Will you have an opening ritual, have candy, or use aromatherapy? Whatever you choose will help differentiate you in the market (within reason people).

I heard of one firm that has it's offices in a forest with a terrific view. Mediating in such a lush, calming setting sets the tone for successful mediations and clients pay for that experience. What sets you apart from the crowd? What's your vision, your signature dish'?

Be Your Own Kind of Leader

I've trained thousands of people and at each training I say there's not one way to be a good mediator. Each person develops their own style. Some of the aspiring chefs (like Virginia) got into trouble when they tried to use Ramsey's loud, foul, bullying style to run their kitchen crews. They failed to be their own kind of leader.

Mediator/Marketers have to take the best of what's available and make it relevant in the world of DR. I've had great success with much of the techniques I've borrowed from mainstream business (blogging, article syndication, online PR) but I've also had my stinkers (including the current design of It's getting an extreme makeover soon!) I'm becoming more of my own kind of mediation marketing leader.

Eat Your Own Cooking

Translated that means believe in mediation, in general, and your own services, in particular. You can and do help people. You've seen how deeply satisfying and cathartic mediation can be for people. You know the power of hope and communication. Don't hold back. Believe it. Say it. The word will spread. Would you try a new restaurant if no one, not even the chef, said it was good? Probably not. (Taken from another perspective, this tip might also mean experience what it's like to be the disputant. I have. It's very enlightening.)

I'll miss Chef Ramsey

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.


PS Anyone going to the ACR conference in Philly this year? I'm speaking at two sessions and I'd love to meet some Mensch readers.


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