I’m sure you learned this lesson when you were in school. There are just some people that won’t be our biggest fans and it’s totally cool. Maybe you don’t like them all that much either.
But in business, we still have the mentality of wanting to be everyone’s best friend on the playground. Now, I’m not saying that you should go all mean girl, but it’s okay if you don’t click with someone.
We do our best to build solid relationships with our clients and peers because people do business with people they know, like, and trust. And believe me, I know I’ve fallen victim to overthinking why someone doesn’t want to sit at my lunch table. But we aren’t sitting in the school cafeteria with our Lunchables anymore (but totally no judgment if you still rock one of those for lunch from time to time).
Now days, I have to remember, it’s just business.
Recently I had the pleasure of presenting to a food and beverage organization on networking. Whenever I go into a speaking event, I always calm my nerves by remembering a little piece of advice I picked up from another speaker (and my apologies for not remembering who that was!). She said, “When you speak to a room, 80% of the people are going to think you are just fine. 10% are going to love you and want to hear more. And then you have those other 10% of people who would never-ever want to hear you again.”
When I heard this, my mind got blown a little. You mean it’s okay to not 100% please everyone with my presentation?! It was freeing to know if I just focused on that 10% who was going to love me, it would make the presentation worthwhile.
And when I presented this last time, I did get some fabulous compliments from people in the group- I knew who my 10% were in that room- the ones that were totally jiving with what I was saying and wanted to know more.
Then I got introduced to my 80% when a lady came up to me after and apologized for not engaging more even though she loved the presentation. She, like a handful of people in that room, was retired, so it wasn’t that they didn’t love the info, it just didn’t really apply to them at this stage in their life.
And yes, it was true- there wasn’t a lot of engagement, but I tried my best to lighten the mood and crack a few jokes when no one would muster up the courage to answer.
A few years ago, if I was in this situation, I would have probably been overanalyzing why everyone was so quiet.
“Oh! They must have hated me!”
“Obviously they didn’t learn anything!”
“I must be a horrible speaker.”
Calling a pity party for one! Yuck. I do not want to spend my time in that negative space. So even when I got a feedback form with nothing on it besides a scribbled note at the bottom that said “You over use ‘you guys'”, I let it roll right off my shoulders. This person was in the 10% who probably thought my voice was annoying and obviously didn’t like my choice of words. I have a feeling they won’t be at any other events I’m speaking at anytime soon.
All that mattered when I walked out of that room was that I focused on my top 10%.
So even if speaking isn’t your thing, remember this when it comes to clients + prospects. Some are going to love ya and want to split their Little Debbie brownie with you (SCORE!), some will want to make casual conversation with you in the hallway, and others are going to pick a desk on the opposite side of the room from you.
Remember, it’s just biz.