Stop Talking. Start Asking. Now Listen.
Mile High Chronicles #1 |July 27 2016 | Delta| LGA > MEM | 4250
What do Night Owls, Crystals, Beacons & Chimes all have in common? They’re native Apple iPhone alarm sounds that have had little success in waking me up each morning. I gave up on them. “Ring the Alarm” by Buju Banton sounds off at 6:35 a.m. and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats “S.O.B” blasts out of my 2nd iPhone @ 6:50 a.m. I get out of bed, singing. As my legs swing onto the floor, my weekly routine kicks in. I check my Gmail, then my calendar and then yell at Alexa to play my morning playlist. Next is Linkedin, Salesforce1 and often Facebook. Notifications, text messages, emails, FB messenger, twitter, snapchats, amazon alerts, Salesforce1 alerts…it can be overwhelming and I’m sure we’ve all mastered our own personal way to skim through what we deem as important.
Former co-workers, recruiters & potential business partners tend to reach out via Linkedin. Most of these messages, I admittedly dismiss after skimming over the opening sentence in the auto-preview pane. But this message was different.
It was unstructured, honest, non-salesy, inquisitive and wildly refreshing. She was a recent graduate of my alma mater. She wanted to get into Sales. She wanted to make money. She was curious about technology. She wanted to work @Salesforce, and she wanted my help. “An ambitious, young girl, making her own connections, looking to get into technology?” I thought. Whether I briefly saw the former me in her message or I experienced a rare #girlpower moment, I’m not sure, but I responded. We met a few days later.
About 5 minutes into the conversation, I found myself more engaged in the chatter behind me; a group of young Morgan Stanley type guys planning a bachelor party to Brazil. By minute 15, I auto-programmed the muscles in my neck to nod in sync with the cadence of her voice. Minute 30, I had an imaginary urgent email suddenly appear in my inbox and I “really needed to get back to the office”. Before leaving, I asked her “Do you have any questions for me? She excitedly said “No! I’m good, just let me know what position you think I would be best for and if you don’t mind, can I put you as a reference when I apply?”
I actually don’t remember her name. Nor do I care enough to go back into my Linkedin messages to find it.
She was smart. She was on time. She smiled a lot. She graduated top of her class. Her body language was inviting, yet, I don’t remember the specifics about everything she was telling me or the reasons behind her wanting to join Salesforce, because I was bored. Her constant talking about herself, the self sale, made me feel tired. I felt distracted.
“People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they never forget how you made them feel” — Maya Angelou.
So what’s the common link between someone that leaves a really good impression and someone that we don’t remember? You tell me. Think about the last time you left a conversation and felt really good about it? I bet you remember that person and want to see them again? Stop reading this and take a minute to think about it.
Were they asking questions about you? Were they genuinely curious about your business or your life? Or were they talking solely about themselves and consistently interrupting or “one-upping” you?
When did we all become such raging fast talkers?
As children, we spoke only in the form of questions. And upon every answer that an adult gave us, we came back with “but why”? Why is the sky blue? Why is that man homeless? Why do I have to go to bed? Yet, somewhere along the way, we either started to fear asking questions with the notion that we should already have the answers, or we simply lost our curiosity and became too self-absorbed and narcissistic that we genuinely are not interested in anything but ourselves. #noimbetterthanyouNoIam
In my opinion, the people I remember most are the ones that have an inquisitiveness and child-like-head-tilting sense of curiosity coupled with the poise and verbal delivery of an adult.
So if you want to be remembered, ask yourself “How can I add value to this person? Start asking them questions, this makes you more valuable, and gives you more knowledge about him/her that will ultimately help you in that relationship.
If you find yourself talking too much, try these
- Be a keen observer of everything around you and question it.
- Remember, questions should stimulate & inspire conversations.
- Ask opened ended questions (hopefully we all know this by now)
- Don’t ever fear looking foolish. #Stayfoolish #SteveJobs
- Start to build a genuine interest in other people and thier story
Some personal questions that are cool to ask
- What was the last time you impressed yourself? Why?
- Try describing yourself in 3 words
- What is something you can do today that you couldn’t do last year?
- What terrifies you?
- When was the last time you gave up on something?
- What’s a bad habit you want to break?
- What motivates you to achieve success?
- If you could immediately acquire one skill without training or education, what would it be?
- What pivotal moments in your life got you to where you are today
BA English/Creative Writing @HunterCollege |Tech Sales|