May I speak with you in person?
Those are perhaps the most underestimated seven words in business.
In a world where we’ve never had more ways to communicate I agree with those who say that truly never have we been so disconnected.
In business the mostly commonly used channels of communication are emails and phone calls.
For the person who is building a reputable personal brand – this is not good enough!
Try for a while asking: May I speak with you in person?
Try this with your subordinates, your superiors, prospective employers and employees, existing clients and prospective ones, colleagues and just every one you can as you’re making your way to the top or retirement (whichever you choose).
Most times we may feel the person on the other end of the line is too busy to meet with us – but just try asking, “May I speak with you in person?”
Better still try a more assertive yet polite request: “When would be a good time for us to speak in person?”
Meeting people in person does one very powerful thing – it brands you on their minds – maybe forever.
Well that all depends on how you deal with that “in-person” meeting.
There may be opportunities that come your way that you might not be interested on taking right now – still ask the person offering (be it a project or job) “When would be a good time for us to meet and discuss this?”
On occasion you may have a brilliant plan or request to ask of people you do business with. Should their response be negative take the no as an opportunity to meet the person on the other end of the conversation with “I totally understand your position. When would be a good time to chat about this in person?”
Structure the request in such a way that the person on the other end does not see the meeting as a waste of their time.
When you are granted the opportunity be WOW!
Dress as though your career depends on it (it does). Prepare for the meeting as though you were going to pitch for your dream job (ultimately you are).
Be courteous and as one of my friends says, “Be confident but not arrogant.”
Be the kind of person you would like to business with.
Handle yourself in such a way that even though you walk away with what may seem like a “no” it’s a BIG FAT YES to you as a credible, fantastic, person to do business with.
And herein lies the difference between a person who’s creating a powerful network every chance they get – and one who’ll probably be constantly failing to grow their business/career because they’re not enriching their network.
As one guy put it: “Your network determines your net worth.”
Whatever it costs you to make that connection – be it time or monetary (buying lunch or tickets to a rugby game or a motivational dinner/conference) don’t see this as an expense – see it as a long term investment for where you’re going.
Be assured that if you get this right – word will spread about you.
Capitalize on a strategy so few people underestimate: human beings are social beings and still need to connect in a way social cyber networks will never satisfy.
Hannah Viviers is a financial journalist and founder of HV Public Speaking