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Harnessing the 'Columbo moment'

Harnessing the 'Columbo moment'

Motivational speaker Philip Hesketh reckons there are only two elements to corporate and personal success: the killer question and the Columbo moment.

Hesketh, known for his talks on economy, relationships and marketing, describes the Colombo moment as the moment when everything important has been addressed in the weekly meeting and everyone’s talking about their plans for the week.

You then turn to your questionee and fire off the question you’ve been longing to ask them. Much like its namesake, people will be caught off guard and will be more likely to tell the truth.

And the only way to get what you want from your personal and professional life, he argues, is to ask the killer question: “What is the most important thing to you about…” – whether it's your partner, colleague or boss.

Hesketh’s advice isn’t falling on deaf ears. Attendees at a recent forum in New Zealand hosted by leadership organisation The Executive Connection included LANtech Ltd’s managing director Paul McQuinlan; Danielle Lendich, CEO of Wendy’s New Zealand; Thomson Reuters country manager Haydn Davies; and CEO of Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce, David Kiddey.

Hesketh's best time management tip?

Focus on the work that’s important, but not urgent. This stops you procrastinating from work that will eventually become urgent.

When Hesketh’s not jetting around the globe asking the killer questions, he can be found writing. His books include How to Persuade and Influence People and Golden Rules for a Long and Happy Life.

And just for kicks, Hesketh also sends out false book jackets to buyers. There's Selling Life Insurance Policies ("a fantastic way for people to avoid talking to you”), for one. However, if you’re out to impress then God, Gambling and Polemics – A pragmatic and heuristic view of life and its meaning is the perfect cover to wow your colleagues or fellow café loiterers.