Merrick, NY-- I recently got some good advice from a consultant and speaker who deals in networking and interpersonal relationships. I've been testing it, and it seems to work well, so I'm going to share it with you here.
Keep in mind, this advice was actually counter to that which I always thought was good business practice. I always felt that the customer comes first, and conversations with the customer should focus primarily on her or him, and not me and my business. I also always thought it was wise to do your homework, ask intelligent questions, and listen more than you speak.
I would always get a kick out of stories about the salesperson who buyers snicker about because they "just love to hear themself speak." It was also widely believed wisdom that she who speaks first always loses, once they have asked for the order, implying that speaking too much, especially at the moment of truth, is definitely bad.
Share More You. But what I have found in testing this advice is that sharing more "you" truly does wonders for business as well as personal conversations. In fact, friends, acquaintances and customers will often "open up" about themselves when you are willing to open up about yourself. And that can be an amazing Icebreaker that simply puts everyone at ease.
The best part about this strategy is that it actually can be fun. As a journalist many years ago, my editors used to always tell me to get the person I am interviewing speaking about themselves, because people are simply very comfortable doing so. But when everyone in the conversation is sharing more of themselves, the conversation is simply that much better. Win-win.
At the risk of being a little silly, I'm going to share a few things about myself here, in the spirit of this article.
My wife, Patti, and I are married a long time and we love each other very much. We have a son, Michael, and a daughter, Jen. We also have two dogs, Lana and Sookie.
I'm somewhat to the athletic side, and like to play ice hockey with my friends once or twice a week. I've been playing since I was about eight years old, and am in the same hockey group now since 2002. It's pretty much impossible to think about business while you're playing ice hockey, but it's still all about skill, strategy and quick execution and you never stop learning.
I also enjoyed playing golf, but I must admit I'm never as good after 18 as I hope to be at the first tee.
I also find hiking enjoyable, and plan to hike up 1,500-foot Angels Landing in Zion right after the Vegas shows this year. Maybe you'd like to join me. In any case, I'm sure you get the idea. Hope it works for you if you aren't already using it.
See you next week!