In putting the final touches on a presentation I’m making later this afternoon, I recognize the fact that I need to really build rapport with the group that I am working with. I am new to them and they may not embrace doing a SWOT analysis late in the afternoon. I do have a few questions that I present to groups that give them a compelling need and a few things that I do to lighten the mood. It is essential for me to build the rapport in order to have them engage in the process, recognize their pain points, and to look for opportunities of strength and growth.
The point of this is to recognize that in all arenas of business, it is imperative to be a real problem solver to your customers. I could give a boring presentation filled with content like so many of us have attended. But, would I really be helping my client? It doesn’t matter if I deliver fantastic information when no one in the audience is engaged enough to want to retain or apply it.
In order to be effective at what we do, we need to be real problem solvers. How do we do this? We engage, we ask questions, we identify with our audience, we get them to identify with us. Whether it is 2 people or 200 people we are working with, it is important to open up. Although I speak professionally, I am by no means the most polished speaker in the world. This works to my advantage because I am very good at finding humor in my blunders. Because all of us make mistakes, I level the playing field in laughing at our goofs.
At the same time, I hold the audience accountable in a good way. I tell them NOT to take what I say at face value. I ask them to challenge me. I challenge them also by asking why they are at the meeting and what they expect out of our time together. This engages them and also gets them to hold me accountable for information and facilitating plan, while at the same time, they know they need to play nice in my sandbox and cooperate with me.
So, in your interactions today with your teams, your customers, and yourselves, are you being a stodgy professional or a real problem solver?