It's amazing the things that unite. Usually it's humor, trauma, or beauty - and often it's Jeopardy! The quiz show has been running strong for decades. Merv Griffin and Ken Jennings are household names. For a while, Alex Trebek had the most talked-about moustache this side of Tom Selleck. The music is an international signal of being on the clock. Most people have a favorite line from the SNL parodies. James Holzhauer is Jeopardy!'s the latest contribution, and his innovative strategy and extraordinary performance have kept viewers glued.

What has surprised me most about Holzhauer's run on the show is how many business lessons he's resurfaced for me. His new gambling-informed approach certainly is part of it, but there are subtler points here, too. His skill and breadth of knowledge demonstrate well-executed, classic business lessons.

Here's why James Holzhauer has convinced me that regular participation in trivia would be great for your company:

1.     Be Bold

Holzhauer's strategy is basically, "Go big or go home." He uses his experience as a professional sports gambler to make decisions that may feel reckless to viewers, but are carefully calculated to win big. Retail expert Michael Lewis says that if you don't make a big deal of it, neither will your customers - so make a statement!  

2.     Develop New Skills

Holzhauer famously trained to master the timing of the Jeopardy! buzzer. This is the kind of attitude you need to grow your business: a willingness to find the key to success, and then master it. Whether it's exploring a new social media channel, expanding your product lineup, or getting back to basics, you should constantly be working to improve. And don't be afraid to fail! Instead, embrace the learning opportunity that comes with it.

3.     Communicate Better

Holzauher is almost never incorrect when he buzzes in. Jeopardy forces communication that is quick, clean, and in a very specific format. Of course you won't often be answering in the form of a question, but you do need to communicate in a way the client understands. And with the new breadth of knowledge you're gaining from trivia practice, you'll always be armed with an appropriate analogy or anecdote. It will help you expand your network and make you more interesting to talk to.

4.     Expand Awareness

All the new information you'll learn playing trivia serves another purpose, too: empathy. The more you know, the more you can understand the experiences of others. The first step in sales is being able to connect with your customer to demonstrate that you understand their problem and can relieve their specific pain.

5.     Build Your Team

Playing trivia by yourself is fun - but playing it with other people is an experience not to be missed. It's a great excuse to get to know colleagues better, and in a much more relaxed atmosphere. You'll discover coworkers' hidden talents and interests, and perhaps come to a deeper understanding of them as individuals. Having shared experiences is critical for strong bonds, and it helps build team cohesion. Plus you'll have a great time!

Published on: Apr 25, 2019
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