Blue-sky brainstorm

Maybe you can’t provide what someone is looking for. But, if you can change the angle or way they’re thinking about something by openly brainstorming with them, you make them feel like they got something special and unexpected. 

It’s key that you’re brainstorming with them, not for them.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

Listen with intent

Being a good listener is about two things: 

  1. Demonstrating that you’ve heard exactly what was said by the other person.
  2. Encouraging them to continue. This breaks down into what’s called “backchanneling” — offering short, enthusiastic responses as the other person talks (i.e. “yeah” “mm-hmm” “totally” “I can see that”), and asking follow up questions that reference the information you were just given.

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Convey genuine appreciation

Actively project warmth and high energy. People like you when they feel liked by you.

To make it clear you’re interested in the other person, think about what they know that you don’t. What do you actually want to learn in the interaction? Focus on that so that they can walk away knowing they added value too.

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If you want to connect with someone professionally to move your goals forward, you need to know exactly why you care about that person or their company. And you need to know how to articulate it succinctly. 

If you know you’re headed into a call or event and want to make a good impression on certain people, create mini dossiers for them.

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Use humility markers

Acknowledging your own fallibility and human imperfection can go a long way toward making yourself relatable. Especially if there’s a power dynamic where someone is asking for your advice, attention or help, you want to put the other person at ease.

Taking the time to call or meet in person also expresses humility.

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There are a lot of reasons why people don’t share what they truly think in professional situations.

Just remember to root your honesty in what will actually have utility for the other party. This will set a good tone for all future conversations.

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Ending on a positive note

End every meeting or conversation with the feeling and optimism you’d like to have at the start of your next conversation with the person.

Assume you’re going to run into everyone again.

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Automation could lead to tremendous scientific breakthroughs. It could help us cure rare diseases. It could help us fix the climate crisis, and much more. 

But many companies are using automation to replace workers without transforming their companies, or developing new products. They're not trying to innovate and transform their businesses but just do the same amount of work with fewer people. 

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