Finding Common Ground

Piece 4 of a 4 Part Series

I’m lucky in my line of work-I get to work with companies in various industries, a variety of people and numerous cultures. It is this fact that allows me to love my work the most….no day is ever the same. As I mentioned in a previous post one of my greatest assets is learning a client’s business acumen. Another strong asset, I will talk to anyone.

The same gentleman that said he liked the new look in the custom suit, made a comment that will stick with me for life. “Catherine, you can move in any circle with ease. I’ve seen you on days when you have a meeting with a CEO in the morning. Later the same day before dinner is over, you are talking to the bus boy about what dishwasher he uses in the kitchen. You talk to anyone that engages in conversation with you and you do it with sincerity. It’s rare.”

I was raised that everyone should be treated with respect, no matter who they are. Like I said in the 2nd piece of this branding series- I do not care who I talk to. And it is true, I like talking to people. It’s fun and everyone has an interesting story!

What I have learned to do in the past decade, and continue to hone, is how to find common ground so the conversation is sincere.

I know to talk money to the financial people. In order to find common ground I’ll quickly glance at my phone and check the price of silver or what new IPO is launching the next week. I really do watch the metals markets on a daily basis so my interest is real.

I talk vision and dreams with the CEO, sales managers and key stakeholders. The simple question “Where do you see the company in 6 months?” opens a flood gate. Many times I not only hear my client’s vision, but I get a tour of these facilities to see WHAT and WHO is involved in their vision. If I don’t understand and know the moving parts that this visionary is working with there is no way I can help.

And when I talk to anyone that works in a commercial kitchen I talk about efficiency and customer service. Most times this happens I’m a patron of the establishment and it’s easy to talk about your drink or food. (PS AutoChlor I’m plugging your dishwashers and cleaning solutions ALL the time!)

Part of your brand needs to be your willingness to find common ground with your clients, peers and bosses. The only way to do this is to talk to them with sincerity about the things that matter to them. No matter who you are speaking to, there is at least ONE thing you can find in common with the person you are speaking with. Try it, talk to a stranger while you are in line somewhere. You can also meet very interesting people in a Carpool Uber. You may even gain a new client when you talk to the person next to you. It’s always a 50–50.