How to handle speaking with people
“Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.”
-– George Washington Carver
Have you ever been to an event and met Joe Obnoxious? You cannot mistake him for anyone else. Joe comes up to you and just starts talking about what he does, how well he does it, and how you should do it with him.
Or what about Joanna Obnoxious, who starts talking to you and, while talking. she is looking all over the room to see who else is there, who might be more important than you. Then just after she asks you what you do, she excuses herself and takes off to see someone else.
The word that comes to mind is “obnoxious.”
The action that comes to mind is, “How can I stay away from this person and how can I keep her/him away from my friends?”
One of the biggest keys to success in speaking with people is listening and letting the other person talk. Ask questions, never assume you know anything. You saw these two people above, they did not follow any of these rules, nor did they understand the principles. They did not understand, “he who asks the questions controls the conversation.”
When you run into Mr. and Ms. Obnoxious, you simply say to them, “sorry but I have to go.” Then move away from them. Don’t worry about what they might think. By the time you get 10 feet away, they will already have found someone else to annoy.
Let’s take a little time here and look at some tricks of the trade for listening.
When going on a job interview, I often help my clients with a technique I like to call, “flipping the conversation.” What happens is that the interviewee asks the questions and the interviewer is answering them. If you can do this, you now control the conversation. The interviewer leaves the meeting thinking you are the greatest candidate for the job.
Remember what I said earlier about asking questions, people love to talk about themselves and when they do they feel great. If you can be the one doing the listening and asking the questions, you will become the favorite child.
It works the same way in networking, job interviewing and a host of other things in life that require conversation. Let the other person do the talking and he/she will always walk away thinking you are a great person and a great contact.
I recently had what I would consider a simple conversation at a networking mixer with a shy fellow named Larry. Larry worked for a very large bank in accounting and really wasn’t a candidate for me. Yet, we had a good conversation. I ask Larry a bunch of related questions and we talked for about 15 minutes. It was good and I felt OK, but was sure we wouldn’t do any business together. Then, about a week later, I got the call. “Manny, my husband says you are one of the best coaches he has ever talked with.” Remember by now, I hardly even
remember the conversation or Larry. The woman continues, “I have a small technology company and we just acquired another firm a little bigger than us, I need some help.”
Anyone who has ever had a child playing sports, especially at the higher levels, understands the simple 90/10 principle. Sports are made up of 90 percent mental ability and 10 percent physical ability. You can have the best physical athlete and he still cannot compete with the one who is mentally prepared, especially when the pressure is on.
One of the most important concepts in networking is the 90/10 rule. Listen 90 percent of the time, and talk 10 percent. If you learn to talk only 10 percent of the time, you will have amazing results.
Listening helps you get all the information. If you are still missing information, then ask another question to learn more. It is very important that you remember the key point we discussed earlier, you are not only looking for leads for yourself, but also for other people. Remember, the more people you help, the more business you will get. The more you listen, the more you will know.
So how do you control the conversation and how do you get the other person to do 90 percent of the talking?
First of all, you have to learn to ask questions.
Let’s take a look at some of the questions you could ask and how they work.
Remember my description of the conversation with Larry. Let’s now look at it in more detail and see exactly what was going on.
I meet Larry at the networking event and the first thing I ask is:
And so Larry, what is it you do for a living?
He told me he was an accountant at ZYX Bank.
Now I could have just left the conversation at that point, but I did not.
I asked some more questions. How long have you been doing it? Do you enjoy it?
Larry like most people loved to talk about himself. Get people talking about what they do and you will learn more than you ever imagined.
Notice, he still has not ask me about myself. It is Okay. Take a moment and let that settle in you. It is Okay not to talk about yourself.
What did you do before?
Many people have very interesting pasts and this helps you get to know who they really are.
A friend of mine, Bob had meet John another person in the group the other day. He said, “John really is not the kind of person I need to meet, he builds cabinets, what has that got to do with me, I am in international finance.”
I said, “well Bob, if you had of taken time to get to know John, you would have learned that he is building cabinets today because that has always been his dream. He spent 20 years as an international banker traveling the world and making a bundle.”
Why did you change?
Again, people love to talk about where they’ve been.
Do you do many networking events?
Which ones do you like the best?
These questions about networking are very critical. They will help you become a more effective networker.
If a person does a great amount of events, then they can give you a flavor for what they see out there, which can help you get into some new events and meet some new people.
If the person does not do a great deal of events, then this opens the door for you to help them by introducing them to some new events.
Is networking productive for you?
This is a very important question. It will open the door to let you to ask, why?
If networking is working for you, then I want to learn more about what you do and how you make it work for you.
I do a great deal of networking, but I still learn at every event I attend.
What else do you sell?
Now this might seem like a strange question, but it is amazing how many people have another business card or are into another business. Yet so few ever learn about it because they just don’t ask the questions.
You talk with a person at a networking event and you learn all about him. Just as the conversation comes to a close, he is now very comfortable with you and breaks out a card that says, “Oh, I also do this.”
Who is your ideal prospect?
This question is very critical. We all think that based on what the person does, we know who would be the best prospect. It is not true you need to spend some time and learn. You can learn simply by asking.
How are you going to help him get business if you do not really know what he is looking for? Ask.
Is there anyone here you are interested in meeting?
Don’t you just wish someone would ask you this question? Yes, I would like to meet Joe and Mary and Sam. Ask – you might know the person they want to meet. You can then do an introduction, and you now have become a friend. And friends help friends find prospects. It works every time.
Also, if from the conversation, you determine that this person should meet someone in the group you know, then take him around and introduce him.
Did you go to school to learn this?
Did you grow up locally?
The list is endless. Take some time and make your own list. Get to know the questions to ask. Then you will ‘never not’ have something to talk about when you go to a networking event. In fact, you will become a Super Networker!
Use the mindstorming technique that we talked about earlier.
You keep people at networking events talking long enough they will think you are the greatest person to talk with and finally they will ask you ––“So Manny, what about you?”
Now I hate to give all my secrets away, but here is a key I want you to remember. If you want to be really good, give them a couple of things about yourself, and then go right back into questions about them. Just try it and see what happens.
In most cases by using the above process, you will encourage them to want to talk further with you. They often will make the suggestion to get together and you’re on your way to building a relationship that leads to business.
Make the person feel great. It really does work.
Point to remember: Kindness may be a dying art for many. But for you, the key is that helping others to succeed will always end up helping you.
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