Why you must improve your conversational skills
I’ve heard a common complaint from the senior corporate executives I work with and also from some of our young, single female friends in New York City: Why can’t people have a good conversation anymore? In the executives’ case, they are complaining about the external service providers and advisors they work with, who can’t stop presenting PowerPoint slides at them. In the case of our young friends (sorry, guys!) they are bemoaning how some of the young men they have dated just cannot stop talking about themselves…sometimes for two hours straight over a dinner date!
Relationship Law One in my new book, Power Relationships, gives you the foundation for connecting with someone: Power relationships are based on great conversations, not one person showing the other how much they know.
Restrain your urge to impress others. Improve your conversations and you’ll strengthen your relationships.
Do your conversations help you and the other person:
- Reflect and sharpen your views?
- Improve your understanding of a problem or challenge?
- Learn more about each other?
- Feel moved or fulfilled?
- Leave the discussion energized and wanting more?
Prospective clients want to have a valuable conversation, not be lectured to or even asked a series of rote questions. Stop presenting or pitching to others and start actually listening and responding. Bring passion and emotion into your conversations, not just facts and analysis. Ask, “How did you feel about that?” as well as, “What did you think?”
Frame your client meetings not as pitches or updates but rather by asking the question, “How can we have a great conversation?” Here are some specific suggestions for how to do this. In your discussions, try to:
- Learn more about your client or prospect as a person (their background, values, etc.).
- Understand their agenda—their most important priorities and goals right now.
- Ask what they would like to talk about, in order to create “reach” and engagement.
- Make it a two-way conversation rather than just presenting your ideas or recommendations.
- Ask good follow up questions when they’ve made a point or shared new information with you.
- Synthesize and affirm what they have said (but don’t just parrot words back to them!)
What is your best or most effective conversational technique? Leave a comment, below.
My new book has just been published. Click here to get a copy of Power Relationships now on Amazon.com, and you can then download the 90-page Power Relationships Personal Planning Guide I wrote for my readers for free.