Talk less.. listen more!
This Dilbert strip couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time! Just this past Tuesday I had been privileged to be asked to help mentor entrepreneurs in IBM’s SmartCamp (Barcelona edition).
Imagine that you’re in a room.. and for the next 90 minutes you have seasoned veterans & highly networked serial entrepreneurs / venture capitalists (just to mention two) all focused on helping you achieve your dream. How often does that happen?
We had just seen the 6 minute pitches (presentations) from 5 companies the hour before, & now we were geared up to help them fine-tune their presentations (how they pitch their business), their business models for success, provide valuable connections / introductions and resources, etc..
Pretty amazing opportunity no?
Now imagine an entrepreneur that walks into the room & bla bla bla bla bla.. answering the questions they formulate in their own heads instead of listening to our questions, challenges & advice. Being defensive about their position instead of trying to learn from the contribution on offer, etc.. Actually, sadly we chuckled as some of them left the room, we were sure they were convinced that “we just didn’t get it”. Good luck with that one!
Once in a life-time opportunities
They don’t come along very often! Biggest lesson I’ve ever learned is to sit at the end of my bed each morning (just after I wake up) for 5-10 minutes & get-in-touch with how I’m feeling.. what kind of day I want ahead of me.. what will success look like at the end of the day. This is how you increase the probability of “luck”.. you prepare yourself for it.
Who’s going to come into my world today? What can I learn from them.. or the experience of being in their presence? What can I learn about myself? What should I continue to pursue? What attitudes are serving me best? What should I be conscious of and make a concerted effort to change?
These are just a sampling of the mental exercises I go through before getting up and kicking off my day. 5-10 minutes is all it takes & it can make a world of difference in determining success or failure. How many of you reach for your smartphone (email) & spend the rest of the day reacting to life?
Business & Personal
Another facet of this exercise is to focus on how you’re feeling. Are you stressed, anxious & overwhelmed? All things that will only get worse if you don’t acknowledge, embrace & mediate them. On these days it’s about taking it one step at a time. Break up your day into blocks or even 30-60 minutes segments (baby steps). What’s the most important thing to get out of these segments? Focus on that.. and get the most value out of your opportunities.
Feeling stressed? I can see it in your face.. I can feel it in your energy! Take a step back.. put a brave smile on your face.. it’s not my fault.. and help me to help YOU. Opportunity is knocking on your door, but you just seem to focused on everything else to open yourself up for the solution your looking for.. and let it powerfully move you forward.
It’s happening everyday..
IBM SmartCamp wasn’t unique in this fashion.. I & my colleagues have been to many other similar events trying to mentor & foster entrepreneurship & growth. Unfortunately we’ve seen this all too often!
We also see it everyday when we’re active in our businesses.. we’re able to see the bigger picture.. we have experience to contribute.. yet those that need to listen most, listen least. Use an opening statement to sit back & listen. Even if the advice or sharing isn’t useful.. the worst that can happen is that by asking additional questions.. you might come to an even stronger conclusion that you’re on the right track.. or find a tip / clue that leads to a subtle change in your thinking.. which in turn projects / accelerates your dreams powerfully forward.
Final piece of advice
The next time you’re in a room with more than 200 years of cumulative international experience & over 10.000 highly influential 1st & 2nd degree contacts (at minimum) just waiting to understand how to help you achieve success.. “talk less.. & listen more!”