Talk less. Listen more.

Something happened this week that really made me think. Something that I wanted to share with you.

Early on in the week, I had a LinkedIn request…. from someone local who runs a business that could potentially have some synergy with mine. So I accepted. Then the dude sent me a private message thanking me for adding him (nice) and saying ‘Would it be ok to send you details on our XXX work and add you to our mailing list please ?’

Not sure about you but I found this a little presumptuous.

I didn’t respond… but if I’m honest I really wanted to. I really wanted to say, ‘Um, no…. you can’t add me to your mailing list and you can’t send me information about your business…. because I never asked you for it.’

And it made me realise how many businesses make mistakes like this. Assuming that people want to hear. Shouting about their latest product or service to everyone and anyone. Ramming things down people’s throats. And guess what happens? We actively ignore them. In fact, if you’re anything like me, you actually put a metaphorical black mark next to their name.

It’s what Seth Godin calls Permission Marketing.

‘Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.’

And so this guys message was actually a blessing in disguise (for me, not him unfortunately). Because it reminded me that the very best way to earn attention is to treat people with respect.

Gary Vaynerchuk talks about this a LOT. He says that his work is all about day trading attention. He understands that attention equals time. And time is our most precious resource.

I guess you may be wondering how you earn that attention? Well, for me, the starting point is just being a good listener. I like to think about it like this… Imagine you were at a cocktail party (I’ll have a mojito please). Everyone is having a lovely time, meeting new folk and generally enjoying each others’ company. Then someone rocks up to your gang and starts banging on about themselves. They hand everyone in the group their business card and give you their very best pitch.

How do you feel ?! Haha kinda like you’d like to throw your drink on them and walk away right? Except normally we’re a little more polite than that so we just roll our eyes and just let them finish their monologue.

Earning attention is doing the exact opposite of that. It’s being the one who listens. The one who is curious and excited to hear more about other peoples’ news. The one who takes note of important details so they can remember them later (like the dude in your local coffee shop who remembers that you just went out of town and asks how your trip was…… that’s goooooood right ?!).

So that’s my challenge for you this week. In business, and in life. Talk less. Listen more. Show some respect and be generous with your time.