In a noisy world where personal branding is a professional imperative and where we constantly compete with equally qualified rivals for clients, jobs, promotions, assignments, or funding, not to mention admiration and affection, being just a little more interesting and memorable can be the deciding factor in our favor.
The following list of seven rules should yield some promising results for those who want to up their game with some new skills and behaviors:
1.Master conversational skills.
The ability to converse is a key competency for successful client pitches, board room presentations, management meetings and the myriad hallway conversations that influence major business decisions. Skillful small talk and more substantive conversations can make anyone more interesting, provided one has something interesting to say.
To get better at it, widen your interests and learn about anything from current events to local issues. Keeping conversations balanced by showing sincere interest in others is critical. A report in Psychological Science cites a study that shows that people who engage in deeper, more substantive conversation are happier than those who keep interactions superficial. Happy people are definitely more interesting than miserable ones.
2.Learn to make a solid business case.
Occasionally we get lucky. We ask for something — resources, money, time, support — and we get it. But for the most part, the higher the stakes, the more scrutiny our requests are under. Entrepreneurs, managers, and executives who cannot make a solid business case, linking needs to strategic goals, detailing risks, opportunities, and projected ROI, based on research and analysis, are discounted by the decision-makers who can green-light a project.
By clearly showing value, telling a compelling business story and answering tough questions from stakeholders, we become valued players in a serious game.