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"Speak for Yourself" - Karen's Short & Pithy Quarterly Newsletter

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By Karen Cortell Reisman

Selling is an exchange of information.

Wherever you are, you're selling your vision, your vegetable peelers, or yourself. Before you can sell to the next guy, you have to know what he wants, what makes them tick, what will ease her pain.

I had the honor of being on the selection committee for the next Executive Director/President of a prominent non-profit agency in Dallas.

My group of 8 professionals culled the list down to 5 incredible finalists. Each candidate exemplified leadership and communication skills, or so I thought.

We interviewed each candidate for 2 hours and began each session the same way. We introduced ourselves with a two to three minute description of our background. Then the Chair of our selection committee said, "Thank you for meeting with us. Why don't you take this opportunity to tell us a little about yourself."

We already had their resumes. We knew about their background. That's how they were picked as finalists.

Guess how long they talked, 'when telling a little about themselves'? Four out of the five spoke for OVER 45 MINUTES! Only one spoke for five minutes and then said, "Oh, let me stop talking. What questions do you have?"

Your biggest selling mistake - over talking and under listening. Our two-hour interviews needed to be a group conversation, not a monologue.

Selling does not equal talking.

For many reasons, we picked the 5-minute orator. But the ability to listen and talk - in that order - was a huge bonus in this person's favor.

Your Relatively Speaking Challenge:

Listen more than you talk.

Einstein Corner

Here's one of my favorite quotes from a letter Albert Einstein wrote to Lina, my grandmother and his cousin - "Lina, to be sure, about politics I still get dutifully angry, but I do not bat with my wings anymore, I only ruffle my feathers."

My challenge to you is to figure out when to bat with your wings full throttle, when to just ruffle your feathers, or when to sit on your perch to mull it all over.

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