Remember this one thing when you first meet a prospective anything

You might be missing the opportunity to form great relationships if you do not do this first.

Everyday we meet new people. New prospective clients, possible employees, potential employees and even associates of existing clients and ok, I’ll say it, potential lovers.

How do you feel when you first meet with someone and all they do is just talk? About themselves? Without stopping? And do not ask you a single question?

I usually feel like I do not want to engage with that person much longer.

Sadly though, I’ve been that person too. And I’m sure you’ve been that person, once or twice, as well. And, we all know that generally, it is nerves, energy of meeting new folks, the pressure or momentum of networking and even the excitement of starting new work, new relationships.

But — and here it comes — THROW ON YOUR BRAKES.

Pace yourself. By pacing yourself, and offering little tidbits — little bits of yourself over an appropriate period of getting to know this new person — you get the chance to show off one or two aspects of yourself that you feel proud of, offer value, or help that prospect. And, they get to digest you one bite at a time.

If you pace yourself, in any context, in how you offer up your gems, the other person will learn to appreciate you as much as you appreciate yourself.

Recently, a colleague told me about an Asian client that they were super charged about working with. The client was going to be building out several new multi-family properties and my colleague was engaged to act as counsel and also identify some prospective strategic partners.

The client wanted advice on forming entities and had a pretty good idea about their own needs list. My colleague admits now that she wanted to impress the client with her knowledge of the US market so:

  • she identified a new real estate analysis firm to be interviewed;
  • called around to see if there were other properties that might fit her new client’s qualification list;
  • identified potential employees for the client to hire for their property management firm.

It is obvious to everyone now that none of these items were why the client hired her. BUT, at the time, she thought she would offer these extra skills as “value adds” to the client to help her client be successful. Her thinking made sense at the time: she wanted the client to see her more than just the document drafting, negotiating lawyer they hired her for.

Well, the client followed each of her ideas down a few steps but each step took the client time and took the client off their already established punch list. In the end, the client told her to “focus on her knitting” and my colleague felt ruffled.

You can do this.

  • Think about what you feel are your three core competencies in the different realms. Pick three even though you may have more.
  • Clarify why you were hired — to yourself. Was it for one of the core competencies? If so, only provide insight along that core competency until the initial project is complete.
  • Notice. As the initial client project proceeds, notice where the other core competencies came into play. Would your insight really have (a) changed the result; (b) added material value; or (c) been essentially about your ego? Be honest with yourself. If it was (a) or (b), then the next project provides a perfect opportunity for you to add those competencies into what you offer your client.

On dating: Disclaimer:

I have been out of the dating game for decades, happily but I meet new great people all of the time. I find the most attractive are the ones who master great interviews. Not simply asking questions, but those that essentially elicit from the other person, whole, deep responses. Thus, the word, interviews.

As the proverb says: “Words from the heart reach the heart, words from the mouth reach the ear.” To reach the heart one must listen, and really listen.

I am not suggesting that you do not speak but rather, my observation of this proverb’s application is this: Parcel out your greatness when you first meet. Listen intently and ask genuine questions to elicit genuine responses. If you know your three or so gems, parcel them out slowly so the other person can appreciate them as much as you do. Because if you do not, and simply pour out all of your gems at once, none can be valued more than the others.

Gregory Rutchik is an author and blogger at www.thepanicproject.com