So I was in Barnes & Noble, as I often am, when a book caught my eye that was titled “The Fine Art of Small Talk: How to start a conversation, keep it going, build networking skills- and leave a positive impression!” by Debra Fine. I’m not going to give you a book review or anything like that, but it turned out to be a fairly decent book; particularly for someone like me who does not necessarily always go out of his way to start small talk with a stranger. One basic idea stood out to me that I feel like is sometimes overlooked by people so I wanted to share. Allow me to directly quote a portion of the book:
“The rules are simple. When someone gives you a smile, you are naturally inclined to smile back. Be the first to smile and greet another person. That’s pretty easy. Just a smile and a few words, and it’s done. Be sure that you make eye contact. That simple act is the beginning of establishing rapport. In those few seconds you have shown an interest in the other person.”
Well said in my opinion.
Another part that stood out was:
“Showing genuine interest is flattering and essential to conversing. If you are interested in how I lost sixty-five pounds or how I started my business or anything else about me, I feel special. I also think positively about you and want to continue talking with you. The more interest you show in me, the more interesting you become to me. The simple act of truly being interested in the other person has an amazing effect on the conversation—it just snowballs!”
So don’t be afraid to show people that you care. If you smile and seem genuinely interested when asking someone about themselves, you give off a positive vibe. On the other hand, if you ask a question while seeming dull and uninterested, the person receiving the question may just give a conversation killing short answer. Or they may even think you have some alternate agenda. Either way, if you don’t make the other person feel comfortable in your presence, that conversation won’t be going very far.
You may hear (or have heard) someone say, “your smile is your best asset” ... maybe you should listen to him or her.
This lesson goes a long way when trying to build rapport with clients, audience members, or just people in general. Some of you may have a podcast and your listeners won't necessarily see your smile, but it will definitely come across in your tone of voice. The more connected your audience feels to you, the more open they will be to listen to you and even take your advice. It's important to realize that being an entrepreneur isn't just about trying to sell some product or service to people and then moving on, you want to build relationships with people so that they are loyal to your brand. A lot of entrepreneurs don't value this concepts and in turn they don't get much repeat business, forcing them to constantly search for new clients. But as readers of this blog, you realize the importance of rapport so I am confident that you will incorporate this and be very successful in your endeavors.
As always, leave a comment on this post if you enjoyed the content or have any value adding advice to add.
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