Regardless of if you are confident in your own skin or not, this is a guide to build your confidence but also to have conversations with purpose and growth behind them.
Have you ever had conversations that have gone nowhere at all?
I’m sure you have online all the time there are many iterations of the pointless conversation:
People using the infamous one word response: “yeah” constantly.
People begging you to buy or donate to a cause.
Or perhaps a conversation that is spiralling around in circles.
Perhaps you are one of those people who does that. That’s okay, as long as you are willing to improve. That’s fair to say why you are reading this in the first place.
The art of having a quality conversation isn’t what I’d say pompous or stuffy. Holding yourself to higher standards is more than reasonable. Such is the case when you are looking to improve yourself. Indeed, having quality conversations and the ability to start them is what sets the people and influencers apart.
Pair that with our abilities and opportunities to do pretty much anything we want, it’s pretty important for us to have those meaningful conversations.
This makes sense in our society when you look around. So many of us want to be Youtubers, or in general influencers on a variety of platforms. Brands are recognized these days by our ability to connect and talk with people. So by being able to have quality conversations in both business and our lives can help us and save us a lot of time.
Here’s how we can do that.
Stop Pushing Your Agenda
Many entrepreneurs are guilty of this along with other people. We inadvertently set expectations when we form connections with other people.
“Whenever you approach someone you have an expectation that some day they’ll buy your stuff.”
That’s a common thought of entrepreneurs and network marketers who are still budding.
But the truth of the matter is not everyone will care about what you are selling.
Yeah your eco-friendly shampoo might be fantastic.
Yes cryptocurrency is this amazing thing that everyone should be part of.
But no amount of pressure or motivation will get people to get off their ass. I remember sitting in seminars where speakers were talking for hours about the incredible value they got from reading a few books.
I didn’t buy any of them.
I couldn’t afford it.
Instead, spend your time and energy having conversations with the person. Some of the best marketers I know spend several days or up to a week talking and building a rapport with someone before even pitching them.
“That’s insane! I’m not doing that!”
You might think that, but it saves you time when you think about it.
An eager salesman one day was selling top quality beef in a neighbourhood. His strategy was to go in the morning on weekends to wake up people selling this amazing beef. He approached one of the houses and knocked on the door.
A man, half awake, answered the door and started talking to the salesman. The salesman was talking and raving about how amazing this beef was, and the man had this dead stare, trying to process everything while still waking up. The conversation lasted for several minutes.
In the end, the salesman was shut down as soon as the man’s wife came down the stairs (seeing as her husband wasn’t sleeping) and asked a single question:
“Is the beef kosher?”
Immediately the guy got shut down as he replied no and wasted his time trying to sell beef to someone who wasn’t even qualified, to begin with. As a result of this, these two people now have a negative impression of the salesman, but also of that company.
When you push to sell something to someone or even to get them to do something immediately, it can leave a bad taste in the person’s mouth.This is the same case for those who brand themselves. It’s especially damaging as this is your business. Yes there are losses and not everyone will like you, but you immediately gave them a reason to not like you when they otherwise could’ve thought of you as someone decent.
This is the same case outside of business. By all means, we do have expectations and use people for our own merit. But by immediately starting with that, it can lead to a negative experience with that person.
First take the time to get to know them before doing anything else.
Don’t Bring Up Tough Or Controversial Topics As The First Topic Point
Recently a guy on Twitter did this to me.
He asked me if I am religious.
The answer is I’m not.
But the problem here wasn’t the question. I’m clearly comfortable with sharing that.
The problem was that was the first question he ever asked me.
This is difficult to respond to for a variety of reasons. When you open up with that, it can lead to people thinking this is an important question to you.
But it also puts people on the defensive.
Religion and politics are things that do that. It’s okay to ask for that later, but using it as a main point sets the tone in a bad way.
It goes back to setting an expectation and you having a bias towards a certain way of thinking. We’ve all got bias, but a quality conversation is one where you are open to changing. It’s hard to convey that if you ask a person whether or not they believe in God and Jesus as your first question.
When you open up with something that controversial, it sends a signal that you expect a person to think a certain way or things will go badly. Our perception of people shifts dramatically on the weight and whether we agree with a certain way of thinking. So it leaves people in a bind as to what to answer.
It only makes things worse at the start because you don’t fully understand a person’s way of thinking. Everyone isn’t as they seem. We all have reasons and motives for doing what we do and it takes time to understand that.
So it’s best to avoid that question, even if it’s blatantly obvious that the person supports a certain view. Instead, take the time to learn why they think that way and get to know them first.
Open With An Open Mind
As I’ve been kind of suggesting throughout this post, start with an open mind. Avoid judging people as much as you can. I know I’m one to talk since I judged that guy above, but I don’t know how religious this individual is. I can presume highly since that was the first question he ever asked me, but it’s hard to say.
When you have a closed mind or a narrow way of thinking, it can lead to bad conversations. But also pointless ones. It’s why I avoided the question and the conversation.
As soon as you get into some harder and sensitive topics, more and more people will get defensive about answers. For me I’m open and I don’t mind telling people I’m not religious. But I’m aware that many people will be bothered by that.
It might get to the point where it becomes a heated argument and that honestly doesn’t help you, the other person, or a business. Arguments are simply wastes of time and energy when you could simply agree to disagree and move on.
That avenue is possible if you have an open mind (and also don’t start by asking something controversial). An open mind allows you to not judge others solely by appearance and accept them. Sure they may turn out to be less than desirable, but you really won’t know until you talk to them.
People might think I’m a bad guy because I don’t have a particular religion. But at the same time, I’ve been able to connect with several people of all different faiths who think I’m a great guy to be around. The difference is the fact that those who have an open mind don’t ask my religious views nor use them as a method to determine if I’m good or not.
Focus On Them
When the topic isn’t about religion or politics, most people will feel more at ease, in fact, enjoy talking about themselves. When you tailor questions specifically towards that it can lead to meaningful conversations.
I’m more than happy to share my viewpoints of the world, and I think it can lead to an interesting conversation. But it can be difficult, especially for those who don’t have an open mind. So it’s very important to get people to relax and be comfortable around you.
So spend time asking questions about their work or their hobbies. Find some sort of common ground from that point and go from there. Dale Carnegie talks extensively about this in his book How To Win Friends and Influence People. He’s talked at length how one man saw him as a “master conversationalist” while only asking a few questions and actively listening to the man.
Great Conversations Await
By focusing on them and having an open mind, it can lead to great innovation. When we stop worrying about judging people or pushing products or services or your opportunity, you can have more meaningful conversations.
Always keep in mind that not every meaningful conversation leads to a closing of a sale. A lot of times the most powerful conversations are simply pieces of advice stemming from understanding a person.
Visit Eric at EricScottBurdon.com.