Ben Beveridge, Inspiring Excellence Inc., Vernon, BC, Futurpreneur Canada Mentor,  

How to talk about your business – pitching versus dialogue, selling versus story-telling, when does and doesn’t pitching work, and how do you begin to know and develop relationships with your audience?

The answer to all of these is to listen. Listen first, listen often, and listen with awareness.

Consciously listening with an intent to understand the other person is the easiest, fastest, and by far the best way to build a path to establishing rapport, and knowing whether you have the means necessary to engage them and bring them into your circle.

Listen to what your potential target is saying before you speak. Ask a simple leading question or two if you have the opportunity, pay attention to what their body language is telling you, and try to gather as much information possible about them before you start down your trajectory. You will be surprised by how much you can glean from things like how they hold themselves, how they interact with others, and how they interact with you before you begin.

Are they in a hurry, or are they calm and relaxed? This will tell you if you have the time to actually talk in depth about your business, or if you just need to give them the 10 second spiel. Are they looking happy and engaged, or is there anger/fear/unease in their face? Maybe they are facing a challenge in their own work in this moment, and now is not the best time to talk about your business at all. Did they mention something about their kids? Maybe the best way to engage them is as a parent first, and then the business.

Listening first allows you to actively gather information, and then strategically plan the content of your delivery, and the ideal way to deliver it. It gives you the opportunity to find a way to connect directly with your target, and engage them in a way that is meaningful, memorable, and will lead to the next conversation.

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