stock business meeting

I am amazed how many people act phony around customers or clients. Many people call this professional; I call this insincere. I want to know the real person, not someone who is fake or trying to be impressive. No one is like that with people that are closest to them, such as friends and family.

To be truthful with other people, whether it is business or personal, is what it is all about. It’s like dating. At first, you are playing games and trying to impress the other party. Then at some point, you start to feel comfortable and start acting like yourself and just being a natural person. Wouldn’t it be great if you could cut out all the stuff? You can. You just have to decide that you want to do it.

Here are some ways to build better business relationships:

• Be yourself. Not the hardest thing to do. Try it, you might even like it. It’s easy to be around people that make you feel welcome or allow you to be yourself. One of my closest friends for more than 40 years is an accountant and he always acts so still on his first or second meeting with a new or prospective client. It is such a shame that it takes him a while to loosen up before people see the wild sense of humor he has, along with his incredible loyalty as a true friend.

• Someone has to break the ice. Instead of playing the corporate game, why not play the personal game? If you are in someone’s office and you notice something that might be personal, such as a picture of a family or boat or whatever, let them talk about it.

After that, share something personal about yourself. We are all similar when you really get down to it.

• Find a common ground. Take notice of things as I mentioned before. Everyone has something in common. The key is to look for it or ask a few questions. You can tell if your questions are too personal or upsetting, because the person will tell you. If he or she doesn’t convey feelings by words, then body language will give you clues.

• Don’t try to impress or have an agenda. Sometimes when we meet new people, we want to seem impressive or important to them. To me, the nicer someone is, or the more open the person is, the more impressed I become. Also, forget your agenda if your only goal is to try to “sell them” something. People can see right through this and will realize you are not there to form a relationship, but to satisfy your financial goals.

• Be the way with the person as you would like the person to be with you. This is the golden rule we learned as children, which was “treat people the way you want to be treated.” If we quit all the game playing and posturing to seem professional or powerful, and we just become natural and plain-old easy to be around, the experience would change dramatically. Think of all future business settings as a barbecue in your backyard. You want to please everyone and just have a good, old-fashioned easy day with good company.

If you try a few of these common-sense, easy ways to loosen up the business atmosphere, you will enjoy much deeper relationships quicker than you expected. Why wait months or years to finally get to know someone,when it could take a couple of hours?


Letters, commentaries and opinions appearing in the Cleveland Jewish News do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, its board, officers or staff.

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