Seeing everyone from executives to college kids with their faces buried in their smartphones makes you wonder whether people enjoy conversations anymore.
In today’s social media-focused economy, it’s become increasingly common to have long, complex and lasting business relationships with other people without ever speaking to them in person—or even on the phone. More of the average business’s sales support, customer service and other customer-facing functions are moving to the Web instead of being handled in person. And with cost-cutting foremost on everyone’s mind, conventions, conferences and meetings are all going virtual, too.
In this environment, you might suppose that there’s no longer much need to meet face to face. Well, you’d be wrong.
Despite all the high-tech gadgets, business is still about personal interactions, and that will never change, says Jodi Glickman, founder ofChicagoconsulting firm Great on the Job, author of the book by the same name and a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review.
“I have yet to win a client via text, (instant messenger) or LinkedIn,” she told IBD. “BlackBerries change people’s lives, let them leave the office and have a mobile existence, but business is personal. In-person meetings are key for building trust, credibility and maintaining relationships.”
• Lead with the punch line. When you’re sharing information that’s new, different or important, don’t beat around the bush.
“We’re all short on time,” said Glickman. “I don’t want to spend 20 minutes talking about something that should take four. If you walk into someone’s office, you should say, ‘Here’s what’s new: boom, boom, boom.'”
• Ask for it. Learn to be strategically proactive. Seek projects from your boss that will get you to the next step in your career.
“Say: ‘I haven’t had the opportunity to run a deal on my own or pitch business to a client,’ or fill in the blank,” Glickman said.
Couch your request in terms of your interest in learning, improving what she calls your value-add to the firm, or desire to work for specific executives. The worst that can happen is your boss says no.
• Set clear expectations. Make sure your employees know what you want. When the managing director for the New York-based Doe Fund, employer of the formerly imprisoned or homeless, recently received an awful business plan from his director of property management, he sought Glickman’s advice. She asked, “Did you give her an example of a business plan, an outline or a template?”
Similarly, employees should seek clarity from managers.
If you get a vague assignment with no examples, create a preliminary draft and check in with your boss early to make sure you are on the right path.
• Help your superior. “Think of how to make your boss look better or make his life easier,” Glickman said. “Anticipate his or her needs.”
Put yourself in your supervisor’s position. “We seem to view our bosses through the eyes of our agenda, but bosses usually have six or more reports,” said William White, professor atNorthwesternUniversity’s Kellogg business school and former CEO of Skokie, Ill.-based Bell & Howell. “If we want to help our boss, we need to understand their total world, their total responsibility.”
• Share credit. Subordinates often say they’re frustrated when they work hard and don’t receive recognition.
“If you’re a manager, prop up your team, during a group meeting or group email,” Glickman said. “Give a shout-out for someone who did a great job or worked hard to win a new account.”
Conversely, says White, if a teammate makes a mistake, the whole team should take the blame.
• Don’t hoard information. “You don’t lose anything when you share information, because you still have it. You gain power by empowering,” White said.
(Excerpt from Original Article by GLORIA LAU):
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