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Staying Positive in A Tough Business Climate - Interview

Michael Virardi is an inspiration coach for businesses and other groups of professionals. In a time of economic upheaval and financial uncertainty, he inspires businesses leaders and employees to stay positive.

This sounds good, but how does it work when each day brings more news of a global economic slowdown? Mr. Virardi gives us his insights in the interview below.

Q: These are tough economic times for businesses large and small, how can business leaders stay positive amid all the difficulties?

"Staying positive – or not – is a conscious decision. Here’s a story that illustrates my point: A dog was lying on the side of the road, moaning and groaning while his owner stood nearby. A passer-by noticed the dog, stopped and asked the owner why his dog was so miserable. The owner explained that the dog was sitting on a nail. “So why doesn’t he get up and walk away?” the passer-by asked? To which the owner replied: “Because he likes the attention he gets when he moans and groans.”

And people are no different. Even if they see a way out of unpleasant or uncomfortable situations, some people are happy being miserable. On a business level, however, deliberately staying positive must be considered “compulsory” by anyone in charge of navigating a company and its people out of the current economic crisis. And the first step is for that person to think positive himself and lead by example. Moaning and groaning will not help in the least. Business leaders can stay positive by switching off their radios (to avoid hearing bad news) and converting their cars into universities on wheels by listening to inspirational and educational CDs. (On my website at you will find an excellent selection of recommended CDs produced by my Mentors). Business leaders can also make a conscious effort to mix with positive people. They must go out of their way to meet and network with colleagues and counterparts in an effort to exchange ideas that will lead to positive change both in their overall company performance, the morale of the team and their sales results."

Q: What made you decide to get into inspiration coaching?

"Jeffrey Gitomer ( did! After winning a European sales award for VIRARDI from Carlise (USA) Food Service products, I had the opportunity to meet Jeffrey Gitomer in Charlotte in the USA. He conducted a very inspirational one-day seminar – and that was the one day that changed my life. I asked him what it would take to become just like him, and he said, “ten (10) years of hard work”, i.e. reading on your subject, listening to audio CDs, training by the best, and so on. Exactly 10 years later, here I am! By the way, very recently I sent an email to Jeffrey thanking him for his advice. He wrote back, thanking me for taking the time to write to him!"

Q: What is the secret of staying positive in business?

"The “secret” of staying positive in business is the same as in your personal life. There is no secret. It is a choice. If you start your day with a positive frame of mind, it might ‘deteriorate’ somewhat during the day, but there is a good chance that it won’t. But if you start off on a negative note, it is a near certainty that the negativity will persist for the whole day. What have you gained? Nothing, I believe. Think about it for a moment: When you pick up a photograph of yourself with other friends, whom do you look at first? Yourself, of course! And the others will do the same; they will look at themselves first. I hate to break the news, but we are a bit selfish by nature. Complaining and negativity serve no purpose at all; firstly, because nobody cares to hear your worries – they are busy with their own, ‘looking at themselves’ – and secondly, because it will not help you in any way."

Q: Give us a broad description of your techniques, how do you inspire your audience?

"It was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who said: “Look at a man the way he is and he only becomes worse; look at him for they way he could be and then he will become what he should be.” I took Goethe's advice to heart and that is the way I “look” at my audience. Classical conditioning is an important factor.

Let me give you an example to clarify: Recently I was training the administrative staff of the University of Cyprus on professional telephone skills. I gave each individual a scarf and asked them all to wrap it around their eyes and not say a word for one (1) minute. After they took the scarf off I told them that that was exactly how a caller feels when a telephonist says: “One minute to connect you”. Their callers are left hanging on a dead line with no background music for 60 seconds until they are eventually connected. The correct way would be to say: “I will connect you right away, Mr. Smith!”. This is classical conditioning.

I also use team exercises where the participants have fun while learning. Dialogue is of course a must in all my seminars and workshops. Above all, I never ‘lecture’. Every point I make is never a theoretical how-to lesson; instead, I always start with real-life cases and scenarios, and then draw the conclusion from them."

Q: Describe two concrete steps that businesses can take to inspire their employees.

"First and foremost they can hire an experienced inspirational and/or motivational speaker to talk to their team. Four out of five of my last seminars were of this nature, as the morale in most companies is very low these days. Another step would be to start a ‘quote of the day’ email campaign by appointing a reliable person within the company to email an inspirational quote every day to the whole team. This way you literally start your day on a positive note."

Contact Michael Viradi via, tel: 00357-99-612532, email:


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