Getting out of Quadrant 2

When you start out in life, just get out of school, and are out there pounding the pavement for that first job or trying to make that first sales call, more often than not you’re carrying around a mental model that says: “To pull this off, I need to get my point across effectively.  I need to convince the person I’m meeting with that _________”  (they should hire me; they should buy this product; they should give to my organization.)   In service of this goal, you execute your plan of where the meeting is going to go, you get your points across, and you do most of the talking.

Why not?  It’s what you’ve been trained to do.  It’s a Quadrant 2 approach.  And it often doesn’t work.

About 10 years ago, right before I headed into a job interview, my wife said to me, “Make sure you give THEM time to talk too.”  Novel.  In the first of the three interviews I had that day, meeting with a garrulous, extroverted Vice President, I spoke for about 5 minutes of the one hour interview.  And I got the job.

Most high-achieving Type A folks need to move to the left.

And all of us need to figure out in which quadrant we are most comfortable, and to figure out how to get better at switching from one to another depending on the person we’re meeting and the relationship we’re trying to build.

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Your next interview

Your next interview is probably tomorrow, even if you’re not looking for a job.

A friend of mine has an important first meeting next week with a key customer.  It’s a relationship he’s inherited.  When describing it to me, he called it an “interview,” which gave me pause; from all external appearances it is nothing of the sort.  Most people would say it was an “introduction.”

But of course he’s right.  It is an interview, as is any first meeting.

We delude ourselves into thinking that meetings are about what meetings purport to be about – this proposal, that idea, that other collaboration that’s been on the back burner for a while.

The shift comes whenever the person you’re meeting thinks, “Wow, she’s just amazing.” Because then that person (prospective customer / partner / vendor / donor) shifts into a different mode, trying to figure out some way to work with you and some way to collaborate and make the next meeting happen.

When this doesn’t happen, you’re stuck in a beauty contest next to all the other people who offer a similar product at a similar price with similar benefits.

You’re always interviewing them, and they’re always interviewing you. Which means need to sell yourself first, in the right way, each and every time.

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