What’s Important

One of the most important things when dealing with people is soft skills.  Soft skills are things like looking people in the eye when they talk, knowing how to properly respond to emails, and how to talk to people.   One of the soft skills it talks about in our book that is really important is listening to what is important to people.  The reason this is important is because if you know what is important to them you can turn your conversation or sales pitch in a direction that will keep them interested and possibly even buy your product.

There are several different ways to tell what is important to people.  One way is observing their behavior, this will show what they put interest in and you can tell both what is most important to them and what is least important to them.  This is helpful when you won’t be able to directly ask them, or don’t know how to start a conversation with the person.  Being able to find that common ground to start the conversation can be very helpful in the long run and can save a little time getting to know the person and allow you to get down to business.   If you are able to talk to the person you can not only ask what is important to them but why that is important to them.  I had to use both of these techniques when I was in Scouts and teaching the new Scouts how to do things in the troop.  The Scouts would often want to goof off and mess around so I had to find out what was important to them and then I was able to find ways to focus them on what they needed to learn that night.  Most of the time the new Scouts had a “leader” in the group who they would all follow and listen to, so as long as I was able to influence the one to do what I wanted or needed them to do I would find out what was important to the leader and he would become interested and the other would be interested as well.  Sometimes this wouldn’t work because the new Scouts either weren’t from the same pack or had just started in Scouts and had no common ground with the others and I would have to find out what interested all of them or most of them then change it a bit so that the others would also find it interesting.  I learned this technique from an adult leader in our troop and was so glad that I did because if I had not I would have had a terrible time trying to teach the Scouts and even worse of a time trying to connect to the younger Scouts, but because of that lesson I was able to find their interests and why things interested them so that I could have a conversation with them.

I think this is one of the most important lessons in the book because I have already found it extremely useful, and it helps out when you’re meeting people or needing to talk to them.  People like it a lot more when you find out what interests them and tailor your conversation to them and this works in the business world too, if you can guide your presentation in a way that interests the group you are presenting to you are more likely to accomplish your goal than just doing a generic presentation.  Finding out what is important to people uses several other soft skills including communication and leadership.

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