I’m so excited to have my first ever guest blog in this space! Jen Mueller serves a similar role as me with the Seattle Mariners organization, and we’ve become friends over the years, swapping stories and helping each other out whenever we can. As an accomplished author, she was instrumental in getting my first children’s book published, and for that, I will be forever grateful. Her forte is effective business communication, which is important in our business and all businesses, for that matter.
Jen’s is smart, talented, witty and uber driven, and I’m thankful to call her a friend. I hope you’ll check out her words here and her work in general. At least read the first two sentences, because she says really nice things about me ;). I kid, I kid.
Me & Jen in the Rangers dugout earlier this season
I adore Emily Jones. She’s funny, smart, talented and gorgeous. She’s also an author thanks to her recently published children’s book “A Place for Everyone.”
Her message is spot on for the intended audience of children, but also for adults who could use a few reminders on the importance of inclusion and relationship building. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a classroom setting or a business environment, building relationships takes bravery and compassion. You have to be brave enough to strike up a conversation and compassionate enough to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. That’s how relationships start.
Emily and I are sports broadcasters. Building relationships with the athletes and coaches we work with is a huge part of what we do. It’s also something you should be doing, regardless of your profession.
Here are five ways to approach conversations that further business relationships.
Ignore the “What if’s”
What if this person doesn’t like me? What if they laugh? What if they don’t want to talk to me? There are a million “What if’s” that can get in the way of not just a great conversation, but a great business connection. Don’t psyche yourself out before the conversation even gets started, especially when those “What if” moments are rarely, if ever, true.
Give good cues
Recognize that other people takes cues from you. Your body language, facial expressions and overall confidence level gives an indication of what the other person can expect. If you’re uncomfortable there’s a good chance the person you’re talking to will be uncomfortable too. Give the right cues and the rest of the conversation gets easier.
Take the initiative
Don’t wait for someone to find you. Be decisive. Find someone to talk to. This is especially if you’re in a networking scenario. You might need to step out of your comfort zone to initiate a conversation but it’s better than hoping the people standing next to you can read your mind and being disappointed when they can’t.
Know the end goal
If you think starting a conversation is awkward, try ending one when you don’t have a specific ask or exit strategy. Know the purpose of the conversation (i.e. making an introduction, inviting someone to join your table, opening the line of communication for a future exchange) and communicate that up front. It’s easier to exit a conversation after you’ve done what you said you were going to do.
Give yourself the benefit of the doubt
Don’t second-guess yourself. You look great. You are smart enough. You are witty enough and you are just the person to offer a kind word and help someone else find their place.
I recommend A Place for Everyone for the kids in your family, and I recommend taking this passage to heart regardless of your age:
“Be the person who walks bravely into a new group and welcomes others into yours. There is a place from everyone. Find your place and help others find theirs.”
Jen Mueller has written three books on business communication to say what Emily Jones McCoy says so simply and brilliantly in her new children’s book, A Place for Everyone. Jen is a veteran sports broadcaster and currently serves as the Seattle Seahawks sideline radio reporter and is a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, Jen founded Talk Sporty to Me in 2009 and teaches business professionals how to improve communication skills using sports conversations.
Link to Jen’s latest book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075G44NBR
Link to Jen’s website: http://www.talksportytome.com