Paralegal SCOPE contributor Blair DeMarco-Wettlaufer is the managing partner and COO of Kingston Data and Credit Inc., in Waterloo Region. He shares a recent experience that helped him put business and personal relationships into context.
I was at a conference yesterday, and the usual small talk, handshakes, and platitudes came up, because no one really wants to talk about how their business is doing, or the challenges they face, or the things they hope or worry about. That’s a damn shame. At least for most people.
At the end of the conference, I had the opportunity to have coffee with someone I consider a friend in our industry, and we had a real conversation. About real things. We talked about a man in our industry we both admired who passed away, we talked about some of the frustrations about working with corporations, legislative changes coming for our industry, and we talked about the real important stuff – why we go to work, and what we emotionally get out of the challenges thrown in our way every day.
But that conversation was months (maybe even years) in the making, because at one point along the way, one of us let our guard down and started talking about something real.
Small Talk is Easy and Cheap
When was the last time you met someone and opened up to them? Told them something good or bad? No, you shouldn’t talk about the details of firing a staff member for embezzlement, or what rate you charge your top national client – let’s be reasonable. But when did you talk about something honestly real that happened to you in the last day or two?
A lot of folks in the business world are afraid to show how big or small their companies are, how much they do or don’t know, and a few of them are worried that rocking the boat or being honest might offend someone, so they are very cautious about what they say, so they end up saying nothing. And if you aren’t going to say anything real, why did you go to a conference, a meeting, or a site visit?
Human Qualities, Flaws and All
Try not to worry what people think of you – we all have our collection of quirks and shortcomings, but so does every human being. Anyone you work with inside your office knows what your flaws are, and odds are long-time clients know as well. So why hide it? By opening up, you may let one flaw show through, but three or four really positive qualities by being genuine.
You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be someone real, and someone honest, and that will eventually put you in a situation where you can have coffee with a colleague, get to understand them as a person, and have a real conversation. And I can assure you, good things come out of real conversations.
This article was published previously at LinkedIn
Contact Blair at:
Kingston Data and Credit