Take a minute and visualize the last great “first interaction” you had with someone – a time when you met someone and something just clicked. Try to remember what made it special. Was it the conversation topic? Was it something you said? The root answer, probably, is that you related to the other person.
As a part of GrowBIG®, we teach professionals how to craft and perfect their Curious Introduction. You only get one chance to make a powerful, positive first impression, and Rainmakers are aware of this. They invest significant amounts of time developing their “elevator speech” and they have had years of practice making that perfect first impression.
However, a critical part of your Curious Introduction takes place when you aren’t even saying anything. It’s happens when you listen. By introducing yourself to someone else in an engaging way, you are attempting to enter into a meaningful dialogue. Listening to what the other person says is, in fact, arguably more important than what you say.
While it can be easy to focus on planning out the next point you make or the next sentence you say, Rainmakers know that they must truly listen to the person they are meeting. It is not enough to simply hear and nod your head understandingly; you have to really pay attention to the other person. When those potential clients speak, they are offering glimpses into their thinking process. What HBDI® quadrants are their most prominent? What kinds of information resonate with them? What do you have in common?
By collecting this kind of “hidden” information, you can tailor your own statements to the other person. Are they asking a bunch of financial questions? Then focus on the numbers side of your business instead expressing your inner “yellow” and discussing your crazy, creative ideas and strategic goals for the next five years. By relating to the other person and tailoring the conversation to their specific thinking preferences, the chances of creating a meaningful relationship increase greatly.
You can take your listening one step further by directly relating to what the other person says through positivity. In a 2014 study, Kleiman, Kashdan, Monfort, Machell, and Goodman studied the effects of relating to what others say in a social environment. They summed up their findings by saying, “We found that the receipt of supportive reactions to self-disclosure attempts during the social interaction was associated with immediate positivity and a more positive memory of the event (remembered enjoyment and positive emotions) one week later.” (Kleiman). By relating to what the other person says and then framing your own statements to relate to their work, challenges, or knowledge, you can build much more powerful relationships.
When it comes to introducing yourself, the best practices are somewhat paradoxical. While it is important to talk about yourself in a creative, engaging way using your Curious Introduction, you also have to listen. Business development is unselfish. You have to put others first and be willing to share the spotlight. By tailoring your statements to match the person’s thinking preferences and then relating to them, you can show others that you care about them while creating great first impressions every time. If you listen well when talking about yourself, you will be moving your prospects down the Path to a Raving Fan from day one.
Kleiman, E. M., Kashdan, T. B., Monfort, S. S., Machell, K. A., & Goodman, F. R. (2014). Perceived responsiveness during an initial social interaction with a stranger predicts a positive memory bias one week later. Cognition & emotion(ahead-of-print), 1-10.