I was reading the August edition of Forbes magazine and found two different articles with very similar themes: good things happen when people actually talk to one another.
The first article discussed Apple and their plans to build a 175 acre campus in Cupertino, California. The new campus will hold about 12,000 people. Unlike other companies that are moving to virtual offices, Jobs was keen on having his team in one place. He was a big advocate of face-to-face meetings. As he told biographer, Walter Isaacson, “You run into someone, you ask what they’re doing, you say 'wow,' and soon you are cooking up all sorts of ideas.”
I found this information absolutely intriguing. The very company that has everyone texting, emailing and watching videos places a high value on the art of conversation and talking to other human beings face-to-face. In the emotional intelligence world, this is referred to as interpersonal skills, the ability to build and maintain relationships. Who knew? Steve Jobs had both IQ and EQ.
The next article was equally fascinating. Steve Blank is a successful entrepreneur. He was engaged by the National Science Foundation to help government-funded researchers commercialize their technology into business. Are you getting the picture? Academia meets entrepreneur. The researchers quickly learn Steve’s first rule in determining whether or not their idea will work: talk to customers. He knows the greatest invention means nothing without a buyer.
Steve is serious and emphatic about the concept of talking to potential customers. If the budding entrepreneurs have not talked to 10 potential customers about their idea by the end of day two, Steve throws them out of the class--until they have those conversations.
I believe a lesson learned for all of us is to take a look at the conversations we are holding or not holding. Are you hiding behind on-line surveys? Are you emailing when you should be having a conversation.
Talk to someone today. It just might help you open and close more business.