When Engaging Others
December 17, 2010 § 2 Comments
“Hi Jake, today we will discuss the ability to engage and make connections,” I said.
“Alright,” Jake said. “I am sure this is significant but would it be alright for you to tell me why you think so?”
“The ability to engage people is crucial to your advancement,” I said. “Mostly in indirect ways.”
“My school did not teach me that,” Jake exclaimed.
“Some schools do,” I said. “But they do not emphasize it much. Most schools emphasize the accumulation and integration of knowledge.”
“People skills are not their priority,” Jake said.
“Like I said, not all,” I mentioned. “Some are very balanced. Let us get back to the discussion.”
“I think we covered part of today’s topic in a previous session,” Jake recalled.
“Yes,” I said. “The ability to listen, to ask questions and to appreciate.”
“The earlier session was about learning from the masters or other successful people,” Jake said.
“Yes,” I affirmed. “But this time it is not just about bringing out lessons from mentors. It is about bringing to light the positive in everyone that you engage.”
“Yes,” I said.
“Coach, I am already very conversant,” Jake said. “How can I still improve?”
“Let us borrow a few pages from Carnegie,” I said. “When you engage people especially when you are meeting them for the first time, say something good about them.”
“You mean appreciation,” Jake said.
“Admiration,” I said. “Admire, if you will, their career, their business, their brand, their country.”
“I am not so much of an admiring person,” Jake said.
“Do not short change yourself,” I said. “I have heard you admire celebrities. You just have to admire the less popular.”
“I will have to make some adjustments in my perspective,” Jake said. “How again can this help me?”
“Success is not only what you know or it is not just about your expertise,” I said. “It is also about who you know, your network. But there is a third one.”
“Who remembers you,” I said. “You may be excellent at what you do. You may know a lot of people. But if those you know cannot remember you easily then they cannot also easily recommend you to others.”
“Great. I get it now,” Jake said. “It is like branding, I should become their top of mind.”
“But you have to be careful,” I said. “Because you want to be top of mind, you might end up sounding like a door-to-door salesman.”
“You only talk about yourself and your service,” I said, “which is the opposite of positive engagement.”
“But they must know who I am or what I do,” Jake reacted.
“Yes especially when they ask,” I replied. “But do not overdo it.”
“What should I do then?” Jake asked.
“When you engage people,” I explained, “show your sincere interest in them. Focus the discussion on them. Make them feel good at who they are and what they do or where they come from.”
“Please continue,” Jake said.
“If you make the engagement about them instead of you,” I said. “There is a higher chance that you will be remembered in appreciation rather than be remembered as a proud jerk.”
“Do I sound like a proud jerk?” Jake asked.
“If they feel good about engaging you,” I said, “they won’t mind engaging you again. They might even look you up. Better have that website ready.”
“Which of course means,” Jake said, “that they might get my services or recommend me to others.”
“Remember that it is not about you. Do not even think of getting more clients, allow it to be a natural result. By engaging others well, you might open doors other than business,” I said. “Doors to friendship might open up.”
“This session has changed my mind,” Jake said.
“I hope that is not all that will change,” I said.
“Yes, coach,” Jake said. “I will be proactive in engaging others and showing genuine interest, make them feel good about themselves. I’ll make it about them.”
“You got it. See you next week, Jake.”
© Eduardo R. Pilapil Jr. 2010