Will You Please Just Shut Up?

I recently returned from this crazy business trip. I met with over 50 customers, clients, prospects, and partners in 4 different countries in less than 2 weeks. Crazy.

Every meeting was outstanding. Or, brilliant in some cases.

I learned a lot - more of which I'll touch on later - but the one thing that sticks with me, in all the formal and informal meetings I attended, was the fundamental concept of listening.

Or, the inability to listen.

Imagine this scenario:

You have the opportunity to meet with someone you admire / value in an immense way. Maybe it's Hristo Stoichkov or Mike Bloomberg or Matt Damon. Someone that you would love to sit down and have a chat.

What happens when that opportunity makes itself available - should you just unload on them, since you have this amazing opportunity to tell them all about yourself?

No. You should not.

Instead, what you should do is find out how they can help you.

Yes. Explain who you are and any tangential ideas you share with them, along with a brief idea of where you are headed, and ask for their thoughts.

Then listen.

And shut up.