Don’t let your drive and desire to “get stuff done” at work overshadow your willingness to build relationships. You can be the smartest person in the room, or the most talented person in your office, but it’s hard to convince colleagues they should enjoy working with you if you don’t take the time to get to know them.
Finding ways to connect with colleagues doesn’t have to be an arduous task. It’s as simple as having a conversation about something other than work. Utilize small talk. Try sports to get the ball rolling. It’s a safe subject that can take you down a lot of different conversation paths. It also helps you avoid the awkward 20-questions scenario in which you start asking random questions in hopes one of them resonates.
If you’re not comfortable with your ability to strike up a sports conversation, then you need the How to Talk Sporty guide available on TalkSportytoMe.com and sign up for your weekly sports cheat sheet by leaving your name in the box marked “Let’s Do This.” Select Weekly Conversation starters and you’ll be sports savvy by 7am every Monday.
Well intentioned people sometimes give bad advice.
“Don’t take ‘No’ for an answer,” they’ll say.
And they’re wrong.
Sometimes you do have to take “No” for an answer because what you’re offering doesn’t match the current need or because the timing isn’t right.
Every year during Spring Training, it’s my job to interview more than 20 Seattle Mariners in the course of 10 days. Every morning I walk into the clubhouse and make my asks. I’ll hear “No” quite a bit. As in, “No, I can’t do it today Jen.” Or “No, before workouts doesn’t work, but I can make time after we come off the field.”
Those examples might not sound like rejection, but it can feel like rejection when someone is saying it to your face.
So what do you do?
Well, here’s what I do as a sports reporter:
First, I clarify the response. What is the player actually saying? Am I getting blown off entirely, or is the player asking for me to accommodate his schedule and timing?
Secondly, I don’t leave the space. Just because I got turned down for one interview, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen every time I make the ask. I still have work to do and need to be in the clubhouse building relationships and allowing players to warm up to seeing me there.
Clarify the response. Is the timing bad or does my product/offering/service/rate not fit with what you need?
Don’t leave the space. Saying “No” to a product/offering/service/rate is different that saying “No” to you as a person. Find a way to build a relationship that’s not based on the business transaction.
Follow up. Getting rejected once doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be rejected in the future – unless you haven’t taken the time to stay on the radar. Develop a follow up plan that keeps you visible and top of mind.
Sounds pretty similar doesn’t it? In fact, here’s the video I posted from Radio Row during Super Bowl week after I dealt with two days of rejection.
Accept rejection – sometimes you need to take no for an answer.
Here’s the way I look at both rejection scenarios. It doesn’t matter if I’m hearing “No” as a sports reporter or as a business owner. I can’t control what the other person says. I can control how I respond. Hearing “No” isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Me choosing to get upset, pitch a fit, beg, be condescending, and generally unpleasant in response are among the worst things that could happen.
Demonstrate your leadership skills. Have a plan for handling rejection with grace and class. And be willing to take “No” for an answer on occasion.
Jen Mueller is a rock star keynote presenter who takes an outside-the-box approach to business communication. She’s spent 18 years in sports broadcasting and currently serves as the Seattle Seahawks sideline radio reporter and is a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team. Jen is the author of three books. Her most recent release, The Influential Conversationalist launched in October. Hire Jen for your next conference or training: Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com.
A couple weeks ago I packed a bag, printed out promotional material and headed to Minneapolis with no idea of what would happen.
I knew what I wanted to happen. I wanted an opportunity to promote my latest book, The Influential Conversationalist.
I made sure I picked a good location to do that, on Radio Row ahead of the Super Bowl, and planned to work the room. In order to do that, I had to identify my value proposition, use the buddy system and position myself as a gal worth talking to. The approach I used to work the room led to results on Radio Row, and gives you a gameplan to follow in your own networking situations.
I’ve discovered the thing I dislike most about writing books, is promoting them. I love the writing process, I love being creative in coming up with content. I don’t like telling people I wrote it. And that’s ridiculous, because how is anyone going to know I wrote a book unless I tell them?
How is anyone going to know the amazing work I’ve done on anything unless I’m willing to talk about it?
Go back and re-read that last question and let it sink in for a minute.
You are the best person to talk about your rock star talent and accomplishments. It’s uncomfortable at first, but it’s an important part of making sure you don’t get overlooked, left behind or passed over for promotions and raises. It wasn’t easy for me to walk up to strangers, tell them I wrote a book and ask if they would talk to me about it on the radio. But I did it, and it paid off. Take a look at what happened, and start applying the same approach to your conversations.
If you’re looking for more conversation strategies download The Best Business Networking Plan. The template will help you plan your networking strategy and the conversations you should be having with key influencers. Remember, you are your own best advocate and the way you talk about yourself and your accomplishments impacts the opportunities you get in the future.
Jen Mueller is a rock star key note presenter and a sports broadcaster based in Seattle. Her outside-the-box approach to business communication is based on 18-years in sports (and men’s locker rooms.) She currently serves as the Seattle Seahawks radio sideline reporter and is a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team. Hire Jen for your next conference or event. Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com