Communication is important in business, communication is vital. It is not enough to introduce yourself while networking, tell your clients what you do and take orders from your boss. You have to exchange information and build alliances.
It is called engagement and there are four steps to creating engagement in any conversation:
1. Ask a Question
Soliciting information from another person opens the door for them to share information and insight with you. In turn, based upon their response, you can then help guide the conversation.
2. Keep Quiet and Pay Attention
Once you ask a question, give the recipient all your attention, do not talk over them and do not be distracted by anything else in the room. Give them your undivided attention in order that you can hear what they say and relay their importance to you.
This goes beyond hearing their words or preparing a response before they are finished giving their response. Listen, really listen to what they say, what they do not and their body language. The total message is comprised of all three.
4. Follow Up
If you were paying attention and listening to what they said, you will be able to formulate either a follow up question for further clarification, deeper understanding or to be able to provide comprehension of what they said. It is validation to the other person that you were listening, what they said was important and you are engaged with them.
Using these four steps, you can build rapport with anyone at any time in an easy manner allowing them to provide all the information and clues to guide the conversation and find a common ground, allegiance, prospective opportunities and collaboration.