Think of Your Clients By Listening

While in a client engagement, try to listen to the people you work with. I mean really listen. The amount of information you can pick up about a person can be astounding.

When I say this and tell you what will help you, don't read this with a cynical eye. It's not just about getting more business. It's about developing and maintaining relationships. And through developing and maintaining relationships, our jobs become easier because their is a sense of comraderie and frankly, fun, because of the trust we have built.

So, when you are in a client meeting on Monday, and everyone goes around the conference room table talking about the weekend, you may hear things like; "I took our son to a ______." It may be to a hockey game or to the orthodontist. Or you will hear, "My daughter and I went to the ______." It may be to a play or to Barnes and Noble for a book report.

You will immediately start hearing some things that matter to the people you work with. Things that are important to them, personally. You may just want to consider asking them next Monday, if the book report or hockey game turned out well. Or sending them information that you may have that your daughter has, because she wrote something about that book last year.

Even better, when the conversation turns to business, you will hear around the table things people are struggling with in terms of the a project, a person, a department or a customer. Think about how you might be able to help them because of your experience or something you have found.

How you offer help will endear you or make you untrustworthy. If you are insincere, people will see you as sneaky. If you are sincere, and offer the information up - just like a balloon in the air, and not push it, after the meeting one-on-one, in person or later over the phone, you will really build the trust and relationship network.

We are all people. We have personal and professional lives. And as much as we really believe we can keep the two separate - we really can't.

Next time, listen. Stop your mind from racing and listen to what interests others or what they are struggling with. Offering up some reading material or a website may go a long way in cementing a relationship and building the trust you need to do well in your assignments.

One more thing. The approach I mention above - pointing out material that is not yours - is better then providing advice. Advice can be a form of judgement. And this might be taken as a put-down.

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