Listen first, Talk later
You walk into the room; you want to nail the pitch and go in all guns blazing. Trouble is, unless you’re a Rockstar and the audience is already rooting for you, that attitude is probably not going to get you very far.
Now I fell into this trap early in my career, I would practice my pitch over and over and think about all the ways in which I would blow people away with my excitement about the Microsoft cloud stack. The trouble is, they already had their own views, many of them were already working with a competitive product which is arguably just as capable.
So how do you break down those barriers, how do you begin to sow the seeds of change?
The fact is, by not allowing the other party to share their thoughts, they didn’t feel heard, valued, or respected and simply cross referenced the competitors counterparts for every cool bit of technology that I pitched.
It wasn’t until I stopped, and really listened to the customer that I was able to be more persuasive and change minds. This wasn’t a dark art, it was being respectful, it was empathising with their issues, understanding their pain points, and building a foundation of trust that we could then all build upon.
Bottom line, by actively listening you are subconsciously building trust, a connection which will help you formulate a better response to other motivations and arguments.
Think about a time when you sat in a meeting and the conversation or information exchanged was one way.
Do you feel engaged?
Do you subconsciously switch off?
What would you do differently?