Every conversation you have is an invitation to risk revealing the real you. What’s the worst that can happen? They don’t respond in kind. So what? They probably weren’t worth knowing in the first place. – Keith Ferrazzi; Never eat alone
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and you know they are holding something back? Like they are not telling you everything they know about a given situation or giving you all the information you need in order to make an informed decision yourself?
How does that make you feel? Lied to, disrespected, belittled, betrayed? I know for me those are some of the emotions I feel when it happens to me.
I recently had the opportunity to read through Keith Ferrazzi’s 2005 book on networking, “Never Eat Alone; And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time.” While I think the title is a bit misleading since there is very little reference to actually dining with people and some of the information was a bit dated because it was published just before the Social Media boom, the book still contained a few nuggets of truth that transcend technology and social evolution.
At the end of the day; “folks is just folks” as Harper Lee said in To Kill a Mockingbird and the best way to get to know people is to be authentic about who you are yourself.
I admit I struggle with this at times. I bet we all do.
We live in a world of Political Correctness. We are constantly checking our opinions, convictions, emotions and values at the door so as not to offend anyone or damage relationships. But what kind of relationships are we building if we intentionally leave a part of ourselves out of the equation?
Just about every marketing, networking and sales book or blog I have read in recent years has been saying essentially the same thing. The days of transactional selling are over. We live in a highly networked and connected world. We started to figure this out even before Facebook and Twitter as evidenced by the publication date of Never Eat Alone. Nowadays it’s the relationships we have that lead to lifelong communities of colleagues, customers, friends and mentors.
And how do you build a lifelong relationship with someone?
It’s certainly not by starting out being inauthentic. Sure you don’t have to reveal everything about yourself on the first date so to speak. But you shouldn’t actively conceal things either. That’s just rude.
The most successful marketers in today’s world are the people who recognize that your best advertising is a strong network and community of colleagues, friends and mentors. These are the people who will be willing to take your call, help you out and forward you business. Show me a highly networked individual and I will show you someone who is successful in whatever they set their mind to. But show me a disingenuous glad handing salesperson who’s only looking for the next big score and I will show you someone who may achieve some early monetary success but will ultimately fail to build a long term sustainable business.
So let’s be honest, be ourselves and be friends. We can talk about doing business together later.
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