Recently, I have been lucky enough to have a lot of meetings where I’ve been talking to people who are interested in the work that I do around influence.
It has been a really diverse group of people that I’ve been meeting- one is about to create a new brand of gin, another is a recruitment expert, a third works in publishing, a fourth is based in Helsinki and so on…
Of course, I’ve been asking all these people questions about their work and learning a lot from their responses, but in this article I wanted to consider the importance of me having the space to talk about my own work.
Because these people have all given me a decent chunk of their time and because we’ve met in environments conducive to a good chat- in relaxed coffee shops, restaurants etc. I was able to discuss my business with them in a way that went way beyond the superficial.
These are some of the main reasons why it has really helped me to talk in depth about my work recently- and why I think it might help you….
1- They asked me interesting questions
This is so important- they asked me things that forced me to articulate what I was saying in a better way and to think about areas of my work that I hadn’t properly considered.
2- They reflected back to me what I was saying to them
Sometimes just hearing your own thoughts reflected back to you can make a huge difference. This is a key part of coaching and in fact two of the people I met up with are brilliant coaches.
3- They got me to think more deeply
At times, they pushed me to explain statements that I was making, which got me to think more deeply about aspects of what I do.
4- They made useful comparisons between my situation and theirs
This was helpful, not only because it gave me additional insights, but because it made me feel better to know that other people occasionally struggle with the same things I do!
5- They gave me advice
Where appropriate, they gave me advice for areas I was struggling with.
6- They gave praise but pushed me to do more
It is always nice to hear praise and affirmation for your work and the people I met were generous with both. However you also need people around you who push you. If someone makes it clear that they admire your work but then point out areas you can improve- it really makes you think and want to continue to impress them.
7- They helped me give voice to the thoughts in my head
There is only so far that you can go having a conversation in your own head or writing things down on paper. Sometimes, you need to say what you are thinking to someone else in order to make sense of it and make sure that your thoughts are translated into actions.
When was the last time you had a really good conversation with someone about the work you do?
How could you make it likely that such conversations will happen more frequently?