Everyday another expert offers his or her opinion on how the business climate has changed and the absolute steps you must take or fail miserably. You know what, they're all correct. Technology has repainted the business landscape. You know what else, they are all missing and dismissing one critical element though.
RELATIONSHIPS! No matter how you slice business, at the end of the day you still have a product or service to sell and those who develop sincere relationships sell the most.
Don't get me wrong, use technology and new paradigms to meet and reinforce relationships. But at its core, businesses are built by face-to-face and over-the-phone interactions. Over 80% of all communication in non-verbal, according to the most recent Stanford University study, so you must commit to honing your interpersonal communication skills.
Here are 5 actions to take now to build your interpersonal skills:
- Put down the phone, iPad, and shut off your computer when your talking to someone - be fully present
- Do not text or email when your talking with someone. It's so damn rude and unprofessional
- Make a list of topics or ice breakers to use at networking events
- Practice active listening. You have two ears and one mouth. Use them proportionally
- Ask open-ended questions that engage both the mind and the emotions
Okay, okay, one last one...
...send a hand written note to new contacts that includes just a brief note about something you either talked about or have in common. They'll never forget you for it, and it will fortify solid ground to build a genuine future on.
Technology is wonderful. It has changed the way we do business from a functional standpoint. Use it to augment relationships, but don't ever let it get in the way of real relationship building skills. People still buy from people. Go out, shake a hand and make a friend.