I have had several “missions” in my life. Over the years, I’ve taken on saving the adverb, reinventing networking and spreading the word about career management. I’m proud to report that the adverb is thriving, networking is becoming more adventurous and career management is growing. My latest mission is to bring back the art of face-to-face business conversations.
The key concept is “face-to-face”…. in person….real time…nose-to-nose…toe-to-toe…communications. It sounds simple and basic AND we are doing less and less of it because there are more choices available to us. Technology has touched our lives and made information readily available whenever and where ever we want it. We are the most informed people in history and yet, sometimes we forego personally talking to someone because it’s easier to text them.
However, because business involves dealing with other people we want to preserve our ability to communicate face-to-face. Mastering this form of connecting isn’t really that difficult. The essentials are maintaining eye contact, building rapport, listening intently, acting professionally and respectfully. Your conversation success also hinges on the questions you ask. The goal of face-to-face conversations is to build a strong business relationship. The adage that people do business with people they know and like is true. And the best way to get to know people is to talk to them. Find out about their business. Ask them what makes them successful. Discover what trends they’re seeing in their industry. Remember, the conversation is about THEM, not you.
Practicing conversations leads to mastery, so try to commit to putting yourself in situations where you can practice. Live networking events are good opportunities to refine your abilities. So, here’s my recommendation. Set a goal to strike up a conversation with a co-worker this week and see how it goes. Do me a favor and throw in a couple of adverbs….persuasively, accurately, proudly, professionally and confidently!