“Would you rather jump out of an airplane without a parachute or sit next to someone you have never met at a dinner party?”
While jumping off a plane without a parachute just to avoid talking to a stranger sounds a bit extreme, you would be surprised at the number of people that would do anything to avoid talking to people.
As humans, we talk more than we do other things. Unless you are a monk or nun who has taken a vow of silence, conversations are a huge part of your active day-to-day activities. Unfortunately, many of us are not good at talking.
Larry King wrote How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere because he recognizes the fact that not everyone was born with the talent of talking like he was; he gives solid advice on how to overcome communication challenges.
The book provides simple and practical advice to help make communication easier, more successful, and even more enjoyable. Kings' anecdotes from a life spent talking--on television, radio, and in person add to the fun and value of the book.
His advice borders on the dos and don'ts of speaking; whether you are at a social function or a business meeting, talking to strangers, giving a speech, at a job interview or simply talking to your friends and family.
While different rules apply to these different scenarios, the basics of a successful conversation are honesty, the right attitude, interest in the other person/people and openness about yourself.
Communication is a necessary skill required to become a successful entrepreneur, here are 5 out of the numerous lessons to take away from this awesome book.
Talking to strangers
We meet new people every now and then. Striking up a conversation and keeping it flowing could pose a challenge if you are naturally shy, however, sometimes, this is inevitable. Very often in your entrepreneurial journey, you would have to talk to strangers; customers and even potential investors.
Here, the first thing to accomplish is to put them at ease. Good body language and maintaining good eye contact will also help you communicate effectively.
Speaking at a business meeting
As a startup founder, you probably spend more time talking about your business than you talk about any other thing. You would attend various meetings be it with investors, co-founder(s) or with your business partners. The book highlights 3 basics of effective communication at business meetings;
- Be direct and open; and be a good listener if you want to be a good talker.
- If you are talking within your own industry, you can assume the people you are talking to know the technical terms you are using, but if you are talking to people outside of your field, you have to assume just the opposite so you have to speak in lay language.
- Do not waste the time of the people you are talking to. Save them the irrelevant information and go straight to the purpose of the meeting. Try to cram the real purpose of the meeting into a few minutes.
Negotiating a deal
When talking during a negotiation, keep your fences mended so that you can win again the next time; stay away from making threats.
"You cannot talk to people successfully if they think you are not interested in what they have to say or you have no respect for them."
You can turn a potential defeat into a victory in negotiations by making sure you talk from a position of strength, even when the odds are stacked against you.
To be on the winning end of a negotiation, you must exude the air of success and not one of desperation which can be achieved not only in your words but also in your appearance and body language. By acting as if you are negotiating from strength, you can gain the upper hand, even when your position is not a strong one.
Pitching your idea
Convincing someone--investors, potential customers-- that your idea is worth their time and money could be a huge task especially if you are not able to communicate with them efficiently. The best ways to learn how to effectively sell your products is to follow the simple rules of sales;
- Know what you are selling
- Once you have closed the deal, do not keep selling.
- Sell the advantages of the product, not its features.
You will not sell any product that is as important as yourself, so you have to do it right. Everyone in business will go through the process at least several times in his or her career. Larry King highlights 4 cardinal rules that could help you sell yourself;
- Show whoever you are selling to what you can do for them-- sell your advantages, not your features.
- Maintain an open attitude-- do not be so businesslike with your demeanor that you stifle your openness
- Be prepared always
- Ask questions-- this is how you learn
Although How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere is a fast read with 220 pages, it is packed with enough lessons to help you build your self-confidence, meet more people, and improve your personal and professional relationships.