Real estate agents are interviewed every day. Whether or not I’ll be offered the job of representing this person in a real estate transaction depends on how the other person feels about themselves after meeting me. When I’m at my best and the results are what I desired I leave the appointment knowing I was not the most interesting person in the room, and the client knows from our conversation that my consideration for their well being is authentic. My curiosity was not intrusive, and it was real.
The skill of conversation can be improved by if you choose, and dramatically change the outcome of your interviews. A person with sharp conversation skills is an engaged listener. They have a real curiosity which invites the interviewer to share their expectations and fears. The goal of the skilled conversationalist is learning what matters to the other person. Time spent uncovering the other person’s story dwarfs the time spent on trying to impress the interviewer with their story.
Maybe the conversation isn’t about what I can do for you, but more about what hopes, fears, desires, concerns you have. Maybe my part in the conversation isn’t about telling you about my success and accomplishments and the cool features of my service. Before going to an interview to be hired as your Realtor I should ask myself what I know about your success, your accomplishments, hopes, dreams, fears, concerns. Until we meet it is unlikely that I know much about you or your situation. To be prepared for the meeting, I would be better off leaving my “presentation” behind than leaving my curiosity on the shelf. It’s the authentic interest, and questions which give the interviewer a chance to shine that’s going to make a difference. My presentation may be interesting only to me. Your story is important to you and you’ll be interested in knowing I’m interested and I’m listening.
I believe the skill of conversation and authentic curiosity can be developed by anyone regardless of their years of experience in their field. When up against the most accomplished Realtor with the most decades of results and boat loads of references, the less experienced or accomplished agent can tilt the advantage to themselves by not trying to be the most interesting person in the room. It’s fascinating how relaxing it is to be the one with the most curiosity. When there is no attempt to impress, there is no pressure to impress.
Is there any skill more important than being able to have a conversation without being bored or offending? Ten Ways to A Better Conversation with Celeste Headlee from Ted Talks. If I just master one it’ll be a great use of the rest of the summer.