Little Stuff That Closes Deals
Business Etiquette is More than Eating with the Right Fork
In the previous article, I discussed some little things that are often overlooked but are essential in making deals and are fundamental in career development and progression in the business world. I mentioned that even small and insignificant actions can remarkably influence the overall perception of an individual, and perception is, in most cases, a reality, unfortunately. I emphasized that attention to little stuff and nuances play essential roles in maintaining any business relationships in the long term. Today’s post is a continuation of last week’s discussion.
The lesson from the episode of Sonko and Abdul is an everyday reality. Many potentially worthwhile and profitable alliances have been lost because of an inadvertent breach of manners. As a result of the merging of the world economies, many of us have to deal with navigating complicated multi-cultural working environment with diverse etiquette standards and expectations. It behooves on every one of us as individual to learn and to adapt to survive and to be relevant, which is the central theme in the Darwinian theory of Natural Selection.
It’s not everybody that’s going to survive this learn to adapt and survive principle because there are some difficult-to-navigate nuances, depending on the company, the local culture, and the requirements of the situation. Possibilities to commit a gaffe are immeasurable, and chances are, sooner or later, you’ll make a blunder. But you can curtail them and avoid causing a bad impression by being generally considerate and attentive to the concerns of others, and by adhering to some basic rules.
Today, I’ll mention two basic rules which are simple but are as important as knowing which hand to hold the fork and which to hold the spoon at the business dinner. If you can do these authentically, many other things will come into play by themselves.
Focus on People:
You never get it wrong here regardless of the culture or situation. You may have prepared some cool PowerPoint slides or learned some new business jargons but that should not be the focus of your interactions with your clients or guests. In fact, they won’t remember you for any of those things. A good, well-timed handshake to pair with your smile is a sure way to stand out, whether you’re at the company picnic or an industry conference. They would remember you for authentic eye contact and cool demeanor and real engagement in what they have to offer rather than what you have to show. Abdul got it right, Sonko didn’t (read the previous article if you haven’t done so already).
Emit Genuine Confidence
The truth is there’s no living person who’s not plagued by insecurity at some area, some point, some time, in his life, career or relationships. And this includes the greatest motivational speakers on the theme of Confidence, but there’re little steps we can all take daily to stand tall and emanate confidence in our daily interactions.
Confidence is about projecting a positive self-image, a positive energy. The reason confidence plays a make or break role in any business interview, relationship or deal making is that, confidence is attractive. I’m using the word Attractive here as the exact opposite of Repellant. Genuine confidence will draw people to you.
Now let’s go back to Abdul. By reading about the background of Mr. Smith before the meeting, he ensured the he was in the position to drive the discussion from the very beginning. He placed himself in a position of control. He didn’t allow Mr. Smith to take 100% control of the meeting and just start throwing business terms at him that would get him off balance. Abdul ensured that he and Mr. Smith had spent about 15 minutes talking about their lives and families, sports and entertainment and that he was internally stable before Mr. Smith ushered him into the business part of the discussion. He knew how much power his state of confidence had in sealing the deal with the investor.
My goal in this post was to establish the point that little things do matter in life and everything you do will have an impact on another thing and on another relationship. Savvy professionals know this and there’s no reason you shouldn’t. While they’re putting in everything effort and applying every theory taught in business school, they know that, ultimately, it’s the little stuff that will seal the deal.