Many a man would rather you heard his story than granted his request.
Recently while leaving an initial discovery meeting with a potential client, the company's director of sales, Sid, who'd been in the meeting, asked me if I had a few minutes to talk. We walked into his office and he offered me a chair, but before he even sat down he spit out an emphatic “How did you do that?”
“Do what?” I responded (not letting on that I knew where he was going).
“What you just did in that room.” He pointed behind him. “No one has ever come in here and held the attention of our executive team like that. Usually, when vendors come in, Jacob [the company's CEO] checks out in the first few minutes and spends the rest of the meeting on his phone. He never took his eyes off you. Where the hell did you get all of that information?”
To him, what I'd done appeared to be some sort of Jedi mind trick. Although I'd never met any of the people on the executive team, I addressed each person by name when they walked into the conference room.
Over the course of the meeting I asked questions focused on the unique issues that each department head was facing while praising specific accomplishments they'd made. Though this was the first time I'd ever visited the company, I easily wove the company's unique language, jargon, and acronyms into my questions, as if I'd been working there for years.
Sid was in awe, and part of me didn't want to reveal my secret. ...