Learn to communicate

Friday, October 9, 2009 ·

With any business, you have to learn how to communicate with others. If you make fabulous jewelry, you'll have to wear it all, unless you can tell others all about it.

There are lots of options for getting the word out, and those options exist whether you're an artisan, a dentist, a massage therapist, a CEO, or a network marketer.

So, if you want to move from the world of employees trading their time for some money, into the world of business owners, where your time and money expand while you sit on a beach, you have to learn to communicate.

Luckily, communication is a learned skill. I know, because I used to be lousy at it. I couldn't think of what to say after "Hi, I'm Marilyn." Most of my mind then switched to the theme of "How do I get out of this conversation without mortifying myself." I was wooden; I was shifty-eyed, I was shallow, I was frozen.

Now, I can pretty much chat away with anyone I choose. It's pretty cool. And a HUGE relief.

The key is to keep the focus of the conversation on the person to whom you're speaking. If you can keep a person talking about himself, he will come away from the conversation thinking that you are fascinating. If you can keep a person talking about himself, you will come away knowing whether or not what you have to offer is a good fit for that person. Perfect.

Most of the time, the initial conversation isn't about your business or product at all. It's about establishing a connection. Some people only need a slight connection before they're ready to talk business. Other people need a long long time before they can open their ears.

Follow their lead. If their need is strong, right there on the surface, they'll bring it up long before you have to pry it out of them. If their need is minimal or doesn't carry a relationship to what you have to offer, then you don't need to talk business after all. It's not the right time yet, or it's just not for them. Either way, you know where to go, because you're just following along after them, asking questions that let you know what's up with THEM.

Practice where it's easier. Tell the cashier that you like her earrings. See if the conversation has good energy around it. Then be on your way. Ask the couple in front of you in line if they've ever eaten here before, what's their favorite on the menu. See if it goes anywhere. Follow their lead.

Practice every day, in small ways. Then when the right opportunity for a business conversation comes along, you'll be a well-oiled machine. You'll be open to the possibilities each person presents to you, and it will all be natural and fun.

If it's fun, you'll do it more often. The first dozen might be awkward, but soon you'll get to the fun level, and then you'll be on your way. You'll have crossed another hurdle, and you won't need to look back.

Hurray for you!


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