Clarity gives you the courage to walk through the door and curiosity makes it easy for you to keep your emotions in check. Armed with both you will make connections and initiate conversations that are as powerful as they are totally unpredictable. These talking tips were inspired by science-based conversation hacks.
Encourage people to talk about themselves and when you do, it gives them as much pleasure as food or money. Smile, make eye contact, and ask simple, open-ended and unexpected questions. Listening without interrupting takes practice. Read their name badge and use the information actively in conversation. “Hi Bill, you’re from BGH Consulting, what’s your specialty?” Play off a change of seasons, “It’s September. What were the highlights of your summer?” Focus on the event. “We’re hearing from a futurist today, what trends are you interested in learning about?”
Ask for advice. Persuasion experts, behavioral scientists, and Wharton professor Adam Grant agree that asking people for advice piques their curiosity and encourages them to open-up to you and share information. Try this: “Bill, as a consultant, how are you reaching clients when everyone lets their calls go to voicemail?” He might answer, “I use two-line emails and text messages.”
Repeat the last three words they said and show that you’re listening and interested in hearing more of their story. With a questioning tone ask: “Emails and text messages?” They might answer, “Yes, I gave it a try and I was really surprised…”
Be patient. When you focus on listening, you won’t always have the chance to share your story. That’s OK. If you are interested in re-connecting, you’ve gathered great information that will make it easy to pick-up where you left off. If you aren’t interested in reconnecting you don’t have to.
Use an aspirational or results-focused branding statement. End with your name to make it easy for people to remember what most of us forget – other people’s names. Instead of saying,“Hi, I’m Paloma and I’m a financial advisor,” try,
“I make money something people enjoy talking about, I’m Paloma.”
“I make finding your dream job less of a nightmare, I’m Trish.
“I bank on the sun and help people save money and the planet by installing solar panels for their businesses and their homes, I’m Chip.”
“I’m trading wine barrels for spreadsheets and looking to use my strategy, analysis, and marketing skills in a consulting firm, I’m Kris.”
Check out these branding tips. Experiment and switch-things-up until you find what works. Order new business cards when you are making a career move or promoting a new venture.
Continue the conversation. Follow-up within 48 hours with an email message, a request to connect on LinkedIn, etc. Craft a simple message that opens with an acknowledgement that singles them out and transports them back to your first conversation. Be generous and give to get. Be clear about your offer and/or your request, and make it very easy for other people to contact you.
Hi Chip, the sun is shining and my partner and I are thinking that it’s time to talk about installing solar panels. Let’s meet at our distribution facility. Can we set something up for next week? Email or text 999.888.7777. Thank you.
Hi Marc, when we met at the council luncheon, you mentioned that your son is interested in Ithaca college. I’d like to introduce him to Katherine Marks. She’s a recent graduate and lives here in town. Please let me know how best to make that connection. We didn’t get the chance to talk about you or your role at the Lane Companies. If you’re open to meeting for coffee or talking by phone, I’d like to hear your story and ask a few questions about marketing and sales. While I am doing well at Zyfer, I check for openings at your company every week. If email works, that’s great. If you prefer to call or text, my number is 999.888.7777. Thank you.
Who do you want to meet and who wants to meet you? Ditch the elevator pitch, find an approach that works for you, then get out there and have some fun.
Do you have a different approach that works well for you? Please email me or comment here and I’ll share your ideas through our social media channels.