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As we all know, the higher up one moves on the food chain, the busier people are. Busy people are not likely to return calls and emails. That makes it hard to build relationships with them.
As [my hero] Nassim Nicholas Taleb put it, If I were really powerful, I would never return a single phone call. Actually he’s doesn’t have to talk to anyone. His book, The Black Swan, appeared on a list of the twelve most influential books since World War II.
Meanwhile, you and I, here in the trenches, are not quite on the list of 12 most influential thinkers yet — we’re almost always reaching out to people and building relationships.
Everything is based on relationships.
If you want to connect with people at a deeper level in a short
er time, the key is to notice more…about them. The conversation ALWAYS goes better when you notice something about the other person and comment on it in a meaningful way.
As Marketo‘s Chief Growth Officer, Jill Rowley, shared at the last Dig South conference, Show me that you know me.
In her panel on the latest marketing trends in tech, Ms. Rowley shared how she had wanted to connect with someone in the C-suite of a Fortune 10 company, I don’t remember which one, but it was someone who was a Big Fish to Jill. She noticed that her Big Fish mentioned in a talk that she wanted to learn how to code. So Jill took the initiative to send her a children’s game designed to teach coding.
You can also do this with social media. Make [somewhat] insightful comments on their posts.
This is an example of Positive Priming.
Noticing something and commenting on it in a meaningful way will prime your audience to be receptive to you. That happens because of positive priming, which causes the brain processing speed to accelerate in response to a stimulus.
The stimulus is that this person has noticed something personal and commented on it in a way that makes sense. By increasing the processing speed in the “noticed” person’s brain, the personal relationship can also develop faster. Noticing builds trust. Trust is the foundation for any relationship.
Notice more. Listen more perceptively.
Well, noticing helps you listen more perceptively. If you listen with a purpose, you’ll move closer to what you want, and in any case have a more interesting experience. The trick is to stop planning what you’re going to say next, and focus on what the other person is actually saying right now.The trick is to stop planning what you're going to say next, and focus on what the other person is actually saying right now. Click To Tweet
Do you know that even top actors work to listen fully to what others on stage are saying….even though they know EXACTLY what they will say because it’s ALL scripted! That is what makes great actors great. Just read any actor’s bio.
And in real life, people often surprise you by saying something different from what you expected.
5 Things You Can Notice
If you’re not sure what to do with this tip, here are 5 things you can start to notice about other people to catalyze that relationship:
- Notice what their favorite words are….you can tell because they repeat them frequently.
- Notice the color of their eyes. Are they wearing contacts?
- Notice body language.
- Notice what emotion(s) are coming through.
- Notice what is NOT being said.
Noticing more; listening intently is really an easy-ish way to stand out…because so few people do it!! It’s definitely impressive when you can refer to a person’s alma mater, favorite sport or something about their kids or dog.
And once you start that connection by paying close attention to details about the other person, here’s the next step.
Be the last one to give an opinion.
In any meeting where you want everyone’s buy in, be the last one to speak on the matter. Specifically ask everyone to give their point of view, and then YOU be the last one the speak. That is probably the most powerful way to win people over: ask for their input first.
Research on persuasive leaders shows they are perceived as excellent listeners. In any power structure, people will act one way in front of the boss, but if you ask them in a safe place who truly influences them, it’s the one who listens. Those are people considered to be truly persuasive.
Action Item: Be that person. The one who listens first, speaks last. And who notices everything. See how your relationships flourish.
Photo by Tim Gouw at Unsplash.