Musings Episode 16: Effective Communication…How to Talk to People in Both Personal and Business

So this weekend I was out with a few people on Saturday night, some new and some I’ve known a while. One thing that caught my attention was the manner in which one of the new people were talking. For a bit of background info while keeping anonymity, this particular person is in the real estate sector, and considered a “real estate guru”.

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While it seemed they had a knack for closing on sales and acquiring large amounts of cash, their real hiccup was talking in a normal setting. They weren’t shy, no – but overbearing, critical, and constantly shot negs – and no, not the type used to pick up women – but backhanded compliments in general.

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When it came to listening to others talk, he’d comment that while they seemed to know the terminology, they still had a ways to go…”but continue, this is interesting,” he’d say. This repetitive behaviour left the group annoyed and albeit them trying to accommodate and override the awkwardness in recovery from these comments, eventually everyone went their separate ways earlier than intended. Slightly later on a friend and I met up to shoot pool and discuss the evening.

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“Man….” my friend started before breaking the rack, “…that guy was a dick. What planet did he come from expecting people to just be okay with him talking like that? He insulted the whole group almost. What a fucking know-it-all.” It was here I examined the table, trying not to laugh to hard at my buddy’s reaction, while also figuring out the most sensible and logical answer to his question.

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He was justified in his opinion – they guy did act like a total ass, while mostly everyone else was getting acquainted with each other and exchanging view points and opinions on their given businesses/professions, exchanging ideas and thoughts – but never once did anyone, and I do mean anyone but this guy, have the balls to openly point out to another their lack of complete knowledge in any given field that was discussed but not necessarily their own.

So I lined up my shot, thought for a bit, took a sip of my drink and finally answered, “you know…and this is not at all making an excuse for the sod – but while he may know how to close, and have the ‘gift of gab’ when it comes to a sale…he’s clearly lacking in overall social skills…and really, when you think about it – honing in on that skill is what really makes a good businessperson. It has more long term effect, leaving a deeper impression on the mind.”

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He nodded, agreeing that’s a critical point in any aspect of life – business, personal, romantic, platonic, you name it….and thinking on this made me want to share a few pointers with you ladies and gents, on how exactly to be a social elite – or, social butterfly, call it what you like. This is going to be slightly different from my usual episodic musings, but I’d like to share – so here goes….

Build up people

….and no, this does not mean kiss ass. Sycophancy and building people up are two completely different things. Building up someone means getting to know someone’s strong points, their desires, their dreams and goals…and most importantly their passions.

Get a person talking about their passions and desires – and you’ve got miles of road to run off of. The rest takes care of itself – because you’ve got someone talking about what they like. Most people go quiet because they’re waiting to talk – rarely do they ever go quiet to listen.

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This doesn’t mean go completely quiet either – this means really assess what the person is saying, pick a point you’d like to know about/catches your eye (ear?), and engage them in that point.

An example:

Person 1: So you work as a foreign currency exchange trader?
Person 2: Yeah.
Person 1: That seems like an interesting trade – what got you so interested in it?
Person 2: I don’t know – I guess you could say I really like numbers.
Person 1: Same – money and math – the only two international languages 😉
Person 2: Haha, yeah.
Person 1: So what is it about numbers that you like exactly? Forex is a very volatile game – there’s gotta be some type of thrill factor in there…and my guess is you’re definitely the type who stays on their toes. It’s not for everyone.
Person  2: Oh yeah, no joke, it’s fast paced…well I guess you could say I was never really good at English – but Math I always nerded out on…so I guess I like the fact that though it may seem random and volatile – it’s really not, but instead….

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You see how that interaction flowed…? Person 1 showed interest, intrigue, and a natural engagement in what person 2 did as a profession. They not only showed it – but also subtly complimented them on their skills, even though they weren’t entirely sure all of what it entailed. It didn’t come across as obvious or as if they were trying to compliment them at all. Which leads us to our next point….

Be genuine. Not nice.

These terms are another pair that tend to become easily confused. Being genuine, is  a whole different ball game from being nice. Being nice is easy. Being nice is effortless. Being nice doesn’t take thinking, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of engagement either.

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Being genuine is a different story however. It’s a little more proactive, a little more involved, and a little less bullshit. Being genuine means actually backing your words, having a reason why you said or did something, and not just doing it in order to keep up appearances.

Someone who’s nice could engage you as if they’re really paying attention. They could easily state, “oh absolutely, I’d love to know more about what it is you do as a fitness consultant. I myself thought about getting back into tennis!”

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….only to leave your business card on the side table or the kitchen counter after parting ways in conversation with you. It happened to me the first time I had a business that relied heavily on social interaction – and it stung like hell. It was insulting, rude, and I felt like it was a complete waste of time talking to them.

Someone who’s genuine is really going to want to know about YOU. Not just find out things like they’re filling out a Facebook profile only to regurgitate the information for gossip later.

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That’s the difference between nice and genuine…and it’s a fine line.

There’s “humor”…and then there’s humor.

The apparent trend nowadays portrayed by the media leans more toward the theory that being a complete smartass will get you somewhere. While the shock value of that may fascinate and intrigue intially, long term, it just gets plain old.

Humor, contrary to today’s popular belief, does not have to be at the expense of others. It does not have to be created from picking apart a conversation and pulling out points that don’t make sense. Remember that dialogue I showed you earlier? Between Person 1 and Person 2?

Person 2: I don’t know – I guess you could say I really like numbers.
Person 1: Same – money and math – the only two international languages 😉
Person 2: Haha, yeah.

While the statement may seem slightly unrelated to any sort of punchline, it actually flowed quite well. It didn’t involve bringing any other person in, nor did it involve shock value or discussion of something negative. It wasn’t forced to where Person 1 was trying to “create humor out of thin air”…

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It stemmed from the conversation naturally, and in the most casual way possible. Sure, it’s not laugh-hysterically-funny, but it was calm, casual, and enough for a warm smile back at least with a bit of afterthought on what was just said – and on top of that, it was a true statement.

Of all the countries I’ve been to, it’s the only thing I’ve literally seen everyone be fluent in…from hand gestures to writing the numbers down (the Western Arabic numeric system is widely used in many countries).

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What are some of the don’ts, you ask? Well, they can be summed up fairly easily:

  • Don’t brag/gloat – noone wants to randomly hear about your mega yacht, unless deep-sea fishing is brought up – nor do they want to hear about your newly acquired BMW unless some form of mechanics or lifestyle is mentioned – stick with topics that flow in the conversation

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  • Don’t always focus on the negative – some people who are “experts,” focus so much on picking apart and analyzing the negative they forget to leave it at the door. While critical thinking, the occasional pessimist view, and problem solving may be good in a business setting – trying to tweak and discuss all the pitfalls could discourage conversation by dampening someone’s mood on a subject they may really enjoy talking about – and leave you wondering why conversation suddenly dries up at your every turn.
  • Be humble – making a big point that you own your own company (and then pointing out again you’re the CEO…no shit Sherlock)/are in a management position does not sound cool. It just makes you sound like an insecure, never-had-anything-significant-happen-ass. Brushing casually over your title in a nonchalant manner will actually spark more intrigue than saying it with your chest puffed out.

So you get the general idea of this whole post…while there’s LOADS….and I do mean loads more things that must be learned and practice to further your goal of being a social elite, these are just a few tasters that can make a world of difference. I may continue this in next week’s episodic musing…we’ll see.

Until then, stayed tuned…and stay classy.

– Rego

Musings Episode 16: Effective Communication…How to Talk to People in Both Personal and Business is a post from and appeared first on Rego’s Life

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24 thoughts on “Musings Episode 16: Effective Communication…How to Talk to People in Both Personal and Business

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