Is conversation dead?
With social media is as significant as ever, I had the impression that connections had overtaken relationships in terms of importance. I have built up almost 3,000 connections on LinkedIn alone. I’ve met some of my connections. Some I’ve even worked with, directly or indirectly. But the majority I don’t really know, if I’m honest with myself. I had become somewhat guilty of collecting connections rather than building relationships.
I wanted to do something to address this.
During September I set myself the challenge of having 50 Powerful Conversations. OK, this wasn’t going to help me to get to know all of my connections. It wasn’t even going to make a dent, in truth. However, it did represent a positive step in the right direction.
50 conversations may sound challenging – that’s 2.4 for each working day of the month – However, I set this goal to focus and challenge me. I was also in the perfect position in September: it was the first month of running my business full time, so I had time available to do this. Furthermore, it allowed me to practice talking positively about myself & my business, as well as honing my listening & questioning skills – key qualities for a coach.
What are Powerful Conversations?
As this is a phrase I coined, this definition was at my discretion! Simply put, it’s a discussion between 2 people, either face to face or virtually (by phone or Skype/Zoom). It’s not in the course of business e.g. with my clients, and in most cases, conversations were planned, although there were a few great spontaneous ones!
Content varied, but was often a combination of:
- Getting to know someone new
- A status update with someone I’d known at some point in the past
- Something specifically helping me and/or my business to develop
- A potential collaboration with another business owner
I’m pleased to say that I reached my goal of 50 Powerful Conversations by the end of September, with many more slots booked into for October and beyond. But, the numbers aren’t really important. Rather it’s the quality of conversations that I’ve had to date and the many others still to come.
Ultimately, suggesting a Power Conversation was a great conversation starter with (many) people being generally happy to have been asked. A number of my connections have since been inspired to do something similar.
I consciously scheduled my conversations around existing diary commitments of coaching clients, workshops and a couple of training courses.
I had some interesting conversations with some amazing people and we almost always discovered some common ground. Some of these may be one-off discussions, and that’s perfectly OK. Follow ups are already planned and in the diary, with others.
What’s important is that we now share an understanding of who we are and what we do. We’ve agreed to look out for each other’s posts and make any suitable introductions and referrals as appropriate.
I know that I’m a good few steps closer to sharing my story with others and this is fundamental in terms of building relationships. Ultimately, whether we’re employed or in business, our success is often determined as much by the relationships we have with others, as to what we actually do.
Overall, who knows what the future will bring?!
I loved my month of 50 Powerful Conversations and I definitely plan to continue having more for the foreseeable future. Maybe not at the rate of 50 per month, but 20-30 seems both desirable and achievable. Who knows where these will lead in time?
Thanks for reading. Check out other Blue Diamond articles to help you take control of your work and life.