Read, Write, and Explore—Every Day!
This is something I do daily, whether in my office or on the road. I intentionally schedule time on my calendar to read a variety of topics, write articles or executive briefings/position papers or blog posts, and explore online. These three activities fuel each other by giving breadth and depth to the insights you gather. Set aside 15 minutes each day to do all three.
Research and Relate
How often do we attend a meeting or networking function unprepared, without a clue as to who will be present or what is on the agenda? We walk in blind and empty-handed with little or no insight on the relevant topic. Be prepared. Block off 30 minutes in advance of a meeting or function to research key trends or the speaker/panel’s bios. Come up with three to five compelling questions or discussion points that are thoughtful, hard-hitting, contrarian, or unique.
Come Out Swinging
Have you listened to a presenter or keynote speaker spend the first 15 minutes thanking the organization, exclaiming how delighted he or she is to be there, commenting what a wonderful city that city is, or sharing how God, parenthood, and apple pie made him or her the person he or she is today? Blah, blah, blah. By the time the introduction is over, the speaker has lost half, if not two-thirds, of the audience! Come out swinging with a bold statement, something catchy that bangs a stake in the ground and says you are worth listening to!
While we are on the subject of bad openings, how about the snoozer? The ho-hum, monotone voice that makes you sleepier the longer you hear it? We could be talking about flying jets, and this person would still completely suck the energy out of the conversation! Don’t be humdrum. Bring a slightly higher-than-relevant level of energy to every interaction. We’re not all Tony Robbins, but if we are boring, people will disengage. Raise the tempo—genuinely.
To learn more, read the revised and updated Relationship Economics paperback edition with 40 percent new content, including an all-new chapter 10 on social media and business relationships (Wiley, Feb. 2011).