Yesterday, I had a very good meeting with a prospective client. The meeting should have gone on for 45 minutes to an hour. Ultimately the meeting ended up being almost three hours long. Most people would assume that a three hour meeting would be completely boring and a waste of time. In fact it was one of the best prospective client meetings I had in a long time. I found a mutual connection with this person because of aviation. We spent half the meeting talking about airplanes and sharing aviation stories. In business you need to find common ground, especially when you initially meet someone.
The ability to find common ground isn't an every day event, nor is it easy. At the start of the meeting I had no idea that the person was passionate about aviation. On my business card I have "Specializing in Airshow Web Sites" under our logo. Even for people who aren't aviation buffs, the "Airshow" line gets more unique conversation than anything else.
According to Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends & Influence People ". . . even in such technical lines as engineering, about 15 percent of one's financial success is due to one's technical knowledge and about 85 percent is due to skill in human engineering - to personality and the ability to lead people." Some of the most successful entrepreneurs I know personally are excellent communicators and charismatic.
Two topics I think every business student or entrepreneur should be skilled in are the ability to communicate effectively and storytelling. These skills help tremendously in building trust and creditability. Clients want to work with vendors with whom they can relate. Be sure you hone your communication skills. But don't forget to be a good listener, first!
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