I had the pleasure of working with Geoff a number of years ago and was impressed with his natural charm and effortless relaxed approach to work. Since then, Geoff has written a book about the art of communicating at work and in the modern world in general entitled “Meaningful Conversations”.
I was a little apprehensive at first, as I have always felt business guides are rather American in their outlook. Quite often they are a collection of power-phrases and long winded, overly complex explanations.
“Meaningful Conversations” is a simple and actually enjoyable read. One of its main deviations from the norm is that it is split into short, sharp chapters making concise and relevant points. The book does not also have that preachy quality and is all-encapsulating. It gives simple advice to the soul trader as well as the corporate employee looking for meaning. I hate to say it; I genuinely found the book to be a pleasant experience, which covered not just an outlook to the modern business world but to life in general.
Having read the book Geoff kindly took time out to have a chat with me:
WG: Hi Geoff, thanks for meeting with me. Obviously our focus here is on SW London. What is your connection to SW London?
GHS: I have always lived in South West London, spending the majority of my time in Wimbledon Village, Barnes and now Chiswick Park. You will still often see me in the Village at the Ivy Cafe reminiscing and writing about those special experiences and memorable stories.
WG: In a world full of business guides, especially in the American market, what do you feel separates yours from that field?
GHS: Many business books in the open market discuss what makes the author so successful, “Meaningful Conversations” demonstrates the relationship between communications (human to human and human to technology). Readers will gain insights into topical subjects from communications and strategy to business development and growth. In my book I aim to simplify these terms and to re-value management and leadership. It will provide you with a hands-on guide for everyone across business and life.
WG: For me I was surprised about the holistic approach you take in some of your writing. This is surely a clean break from the traditional, almost stuffy, image of business. What took you down that path?
GHS: To some extent or other all of us carry a reflection of the experiences of our lives. However, our success is determined at least in part by how we cope with those experiences and what we learn from them. People try to divide their lives between business and personal, but the reality is we only have one life. I would want the reader to walk away with determination to never give up on the dream. The dream becomes reality and you are the master of that journey.
WG: In the modern world of social media and whatsapp, do you feel that communication on a face-to-face level is something of a lost art?
GHS: Social technologies have broken the barriers of space and time, enabling us to interact 24/7 with more people than ever before. But like any revolutionary concept, it has spawned a set of new barriers and threats. In an ironic twist, social media has the potential to make us less social; a surrogate for the real thing. What ever happened to picking up the phone, or talking to someone face-to-face over coffee, I guess we do not have time.
WG: Finally, what inspired you to write this book?
GHS: The book deals with the constant root cause of today’s plethora of life and business challenges. It explores the whys and wherefores of communications, strategy, development and growth in our ways of thinking and experiencing the world, backed by research from MIT, Harvard, Stamford, Oxford and Cambridge. It draws upon Eastern and Western wisdom and blends philosophy with pioneering new thought.
WG: Thank you for your time Geoff
So there you have it; an interesting and thoroughly thought-provoking take on the modern world of business. If you want to buy “Meaningful Conversations” it is available via Amazon, Apple, Google Play, Nook, Kodo, Smashwords, Waterstones, Barnes and Noble in hardback, paperback, kindle, e-book and direct from the publisher via Matador.
By Wimbledon Gent, Matthew Benwell