Posted on: January 23, 2017 Uncategorized

Table tennis bat and ball

I’ve played table tennis since my childhood and still am an avid fan.

Avid enough that I play it twice a week, sometimes thrice in a local club close to my home.

There are about 50 or so players that attend. Out of these, there are 6 or so kids aged 6 to 15 that play as well.

One can play with whomever they want.

I usually get 4 or 5 competitive and rigorous games and I’ll make a point of getting a game with one of the younger players.

Last night was interesting.

One after another, the kids asked to play with me.

Several of the older players took notice of this.

One of them, Steve came and whispered in my ear “what’s up, all the kids want to play with you today.”

I didn’t say anything but I knew why this was the case.

The kids knew they were in a “safe zone” when they played with me.

Here’s how I create a “safe zone” for them and how we can do this in our practices for success.

  1. Find out the kids name and use it several times. (Everyone loves hearing their name, including our clients and employees. Use it in all your conversations.)
  2. Encourage them. When the young kid makes a decent shot or serves well, I’ll look at them from across the table and say “good job (name).” (Everyone likes to be recognized for their achievements, including our clients and team members. Look for those opportunities and make them feel good about themselves and their efforts.)
  3. Don’t take it too seriously. I see some adult players get so worked up.  They are focused on themselves and their own game.  They beat themselves up with negative self-talk when they miss a shot.  (Life is short. Relax. Work hard if you have to but don’t take yourself too seriously.)
  4. At the end of the game, I thank the young kid for choosing to play with me and giving me a good game. (Our clients choose to do business with us over other CPA firms. Same thing with our employees. Sincerely, thank them from the bottom of your heart.)

There you have it.

Four valuable lessons to create a “safe zone” for your clients and employees. In the process, you will be creating lifers.

That is how an ordinary practice turns extraordinary. It works on the table tennis court and it works in our practices like magic, each and every time.

If you liked this post, please click here and leave a comment.

I will be personally reading all the responses.

2 Responses to “4 Lessons From Table Tennis”

  1. Donna Lambert

    Thank you for this email. I very much enjoyed reading your post. I think I already do #1 and #2 in my day to day interactions with clients and coworkers in regards to using people's names and encouraging/complimenting/recognizing them. I did need the reminder in #3 about not taking everything quite so seriously and letting myself relax. The part of your post that compelled me to write this comment was #4 about thanking clients/co-workers for choosing to do business with us. That part really hit home with me! I am definitely going to integrate that into my dialogue immediately. Thank you for sharing this post.

  2. Adam U.

    Thank you for the reminder Salim. It is easy to forget to praise your people with all of the day to day hustle.
    You should host a table tennis tournament with one of your programs or the Annual Conference, as the main prize.

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