Learning the Conversation Stack at Google Partners Training in Boulder

Learning the Conversation Stack at Google Partners Training in Boulder

In late July, I left the mountains for sunny, bike-friendly Boulder to attend the Account Manager Specialist training at Google. When I walked into the Boulder Falls meeting room at Google Boulder, the training leader, G.A. Bartick, warmly welcomed me. I’ve never witnessed anyone greet one person after another after another with endless genuine enthusiasm, until G.A. I was impressed, and thought this workshop might be different from what I expected, a thought that proved to be true. The first exercise of the day? Stand up, push in your chairs, give a high five to 5 strangers in the room, and tell them, “Google rocks!” Back at our seats, G.A. asked us to create a 9 item list, which included a starter’s pistol and an airplane with tennis rackets for wings. This 9 item list is what G.A. called a conversation stack. So far, high fives and a list of random objects weren’t my expectation. I wondered, “Where’s the slide presentation? The cheesy Powerpoint graphics? Where’s the familiar?” The familiar, the comfortable took the day off. Back to the starter’s pistol and tennis racket airplane. What do these objects have to do with an Account Manager Specialist’s job? Everything. In fact, these objects are the key to having a meaningful conversation with anyone, anywhere, anytime. When you learn the conversation stack, you begin by writing down the list of objects, unadorned. To commit these objects to memory, you adorn them, you describe them. Working as a group, one person transformed a plain old starter’s pistol into a purple starter’s pistol ― Prince would approve! Another attendee turned the airplane...