When biscuits are a big deal – why details matter

19th October, 2017

Who’s going to form government in New Zealand? Could biscuits give us the answer?

In case you missed it, the Labour Party led by Jacinda Ardern and National leader Bill English have been trying to woo NZ First leader Winston Peters to form government.

While we’re entirely sure more serious matters have been discussed, all parties have kept relatively mum on the progress of the talks – leaving punters with very little to speculate on.

Instead, they’ve only been left a few crumbs.

Analysis has turned to what sort of baked goods Ardern has been bringing Peters as part of negotiations.

As anybody who’s tried to land a big fish in business would know, it’s the small things that can make all the difference – whether you’re trying to form a government or do business with a new client.

What are some of the small ways you can go above and beyond while making a good impression?

Find common ground by asking around

Let’s say you’re meeting with a potential key client and want to bring the personal touch. Ask others about them or doing a bit of a social media stalk to figure out what they’re interested in.

But make sure you don’t let it get creepy. If you walk into a meeting and ask a potential client whether they enjoyed the island holiday they took with their family recently you may be asked politely yet firmly to leave.

Instead, try sport.

There’s a reason why corporate boxes at sporting events exist. Sport gives people a common frame of reference while removing the possibility of having the frame of reference be too personal.

Have they been tweeting about the Silver Ferns? Use that.

Notice details

You may be given the opportunity to meet a prospective client in their office – and unless they have a perfectly manicured, design-led blank space office there’s usually something in the room you can use as a conversation starter.

For example, there may be a piece of art in the office. Ask about it.

It gets people talking about the art, why they chose it, and ultimately about themselves. (Which is most people’s favourite topic.)

What do they like to eat?

We’re not privy to the inner-workings of the NZ Labour party, but we’re willing to wager that somebody picked up a tip somewhere that Winston Peters was a fan of gingernuts.

Watch any cooking show and you’ll know that food isn’t just about nutrition, but is also about emotion and activating the pleasure centre of your brain through the release of serotonin.

If you’re lucky enough to have met your potential client at a networking event, is there a canape they keep on going back to?

Have you heard that the potential client likes a particular style of cuisine or has been raving about a particular restaurant? Book a meeting there.


Using the small stuff to tip you over the edge comes back to having people skills such as empathy and emotional intelligence.

It’s why those skills are so highly valued in business.

The small stuff, the one-percenters, can matter so much when it comes to a make or break situation.