Uncertainty takes hold when we walk into a room of people far more experienced than us. And when we are surrounded by people who have very different experiences and perspectives than ours, many of us tend to say nothing. Instead we listen and take it all in.
Our reluctance to speak is partially due to the fact we don’t want to reveal our seemingly lower level experience. The other part is we are initially uncertain as to which direction in conversation to take. So not a word is spoken. We listen. In the end, being quiet upfront proves to be the all time best route for career, interviews, client meetings and newly forming groups.
Being quiet sets the tone for serious conversation.
A few months ago, a friend recommended me to participate in the newly formed Sales Enablement Council. Given I had just moved to the area, I readily agreed to attend the meeting in order to make new connections. Oh my…
The people in the room were nothing short of brilliant. Their work is to consult with top tier corporations around the world and improve their sales effort. The only commonality we have is my knowledge of sales itself. I continued to attend the meetings, with encouragement from the leader, to learn what I could from the best. Accordingly, I sat silently in these meetings. Deep down, I questioned why I continued to go.
Perseverance saved the day. The light finally came on as to how my knowledge would complement theirs. Opportunity presented was far greater than anything I could have imagined, and certainly could not be achieved on my own.
Being quiet allowed:
- Understanding the other people in the room
- Learning a new direction
- Unique collaborative projects ahead
Quitting is never the answer, even when we are feeling most vulnerable. However, waiting the situation out to understand why we are there is the answer. In this case, silence is golden. Today, I finally spoke and noticed that the leader was taking notes all the while. It was the best compliment of all!
Many people have shared their reactions to similar situations. A few people admitted to nervous nonsense talking that turned off the others in the room. Most said they departed quickly and/or declined opportunities that scared them. They instead played it safe. But, in so doing they never advanced their capabilities.
So the question is, how do you handle such events and is there room for improvement? In the future, consider implementing the following:
- Keep telling yourself “you can do it”.
- Take careful notes in the meeting, and ask clarifying questions.
- Repeat the process until you know 100% which direction to turn; continue or depart
Intuitively, we usually know the answer. Equally important is to qualify and match the people in the room. Should they appear to hold similar values and principles for doing business, give the opportunity time to reveal itself in full. Being quiet in meetings allows for improved decision-making. Ultimately, you may not be as different as you originally thought. Being of this mindset gives way for building sound relationships and establishment of a strong personal brand.
- Give every opportunity an opportunity
- Listen for what is said and not being said
- Ask questions regarding what appears to be overlooked
- Between meetings research some of the topics
- With newfound knowledge, begin adding to the meetings
- Determine how your information is being received
- Ask to meet over coffee with those who appear to have more in common
- Volunteer to contribute once you see your niche
- When everyone works as a team, the outcome vastly improves
- Be seen as an active and valued member of the group
Following these guidelines will lead you to the Smooth Sale!
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