I have been a member of a Vistage Trusted Advisor group for four years. For me, the best benefit of Vistage is not the valuable business contacts, but rather the opportunity that paying attention to the speakers gives me for real growth and improvement.  I don’t have an MBA. Instead, I attend the graduate business school of Vistage. (Side note:  Our group is also a safe place for announcing success without feeling like we are bragging.)
Here’s one example of Vistage as MBA School. I taught a private workshop over two different half days last week. For this workshop, I customized my materials to fit the client’s sales process, sales messaging and sales behaviors so we could truly implement a sales culture.  In the past, I’ve been cocky enough (surprise) to believe that I was keeping my audiences’ attention throughout my workshops, and that my stuff was going to stick.  Even still, a little voice inside my head always worried that I wasn’t doing enough to insure success.
About 10 days prior to this recent workshop, our Vistage chair Larry Hart brought in Dr. Stuart Zola, Ph.D to speak to us on the “The Challenge of Dual Realities.” Along with introducing us to impressive concepts about memory retention and time, Dr. Zola went through Tony Buzan’s the Most Important Graph in the World. I won’t do it justice here, but the long-story-short is that in any story, episode, presentation, speech, meeting, or even just a list, we remember certain things better than others due to their nature or placement within the event. It got me thinking – any time you have a major presentation/sales call/speech – make sure to respect the MIG!
Hmmm… I knew that in less than two weeks I had to do a workshop in front of more than a dozen 20-somethings (and 17 total), and I was worried this could quickly devolve into an episode of Short Attention Span Theater. So, over the next week, I reviewed my slides, exercises, stories, notes etc. with the lens of the MIG – The Most Important Graph.  I made a few changes and Whamm-O! – I felt bullet proof!
No little voice this time.

Primacy – check.

Recency – check.

A couple Von Restorffs – Check.

An important point repeated throughout – check.

Did it all work out?  Well…
After Day 1, the Sales Manager  – the guy charged with making things happen post-workshop – sent me this note:
Thank you for a great session today. The feedback from everyone I spoke to (most everyone) was extremely positive…I learned a lot and I appreciate it. See you tomorrow.
And then this:
Very early on Day 1, I showed the It’s Not About the Nail video.  Definitely, a Von Restorff item, and maybe early enough to cover “primacy.”  Early the next morning (Day 2) a young woman reported to the group how in the past she reacted to her boyfriend’s complaining about his job by immediately offering up “fixes.” Well, the previous night he complained again, but this time she first showed empathy, “I can totally understand how that would bother you,”  as portrayed in the video and the first sales behavior – Active Listening – that I introduce. She said his face lit up warmly like never before.  The group started razzing her that now she needs to get ready for him to “put a ring on her finger.”


That was real growth, and it nearly brought a tear to my eye.  Imagine how much better she will be on sales calls when a prospect brings up an objection or a concern!
Was it the Von Restorff effect or Primacy? We’ll never know. I do know, however, that Day 2 was a breeze because I was confident I had implemented the Most Important Graph in the World. And I learned it from Dr. Zola thanks to Vistage.
So, check out the MIG and Vistage and ask yourself: Where can I get further schooling?