18 September 2015

Do you make the most of every conversation that you have?

Small talk is a skill. As is thinking on your feet to respond relevantly in a second. It’s a talent that is nurtured over time, imitating others and evolving as you grow.


In this day and age, communication is incredibly disposable. A text, image or video that’s replaced in an instant. Seemingly gone are the days of carefully considered handwritten notes and letters that are kept for years, or hour-long conversations.

I can’t help but question whether this is leading to a generation of people who are no longer able make the most of the conversations that they do have. In life this ability is important, in business it is essential.

Dismiss at your peril the ability to pick up on triggers, mirror behaviour and build relationships during conversations in every area of doing business. On a call with a customer, in a team meeting or one on one, these subtle signs could lead to a new conversations, new opportunities or the chance to help someone in need.

I can remember many occasions in my life when a quick chat with someone turns into an hour-long heart-to-heart because I’ve noticed something isn’t right. Equally I have had just as many conversations in the early days of UKFast that have led to long-term customers because something they said made me realise how I could help them.

Undoubtedly, communication is always evolving, but for me, one-way communication limits this interaction and reduces the opportunity that young people are getting to hone this skill.

It’s widely documented that younger generations are increasingly reluctant to pick up the phone, favouring email instead. In my opinion, whilst email or text is incredibly useful to follow up a call or meeting; nothing beats a good conversation.

As we work with more and more ambitious young people, I am regularly asked how I would help them to grow into the entrepreneurs of the future. I have said it before and I am sure I will say it many more times in the future, if you’re growing a business my advice to you is very simple: pick up the phone.

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