Best, and Briefest, Career Advice Ever
What I want to share is short, sweet, to the point, and far too often overlooked. It came from my father some time ago, and while it doesn’t rival Polonius' advice to Laertes it’s pretty solid in its own right.
Most people think getting ahead is about speaking up and speaking out. There's obvious merit in doing so, but what we all say and how and when we say it must be measured against what we’re trying to achieve, right?
We all want to join the dialogue, enter the conversation, and express ourselves to the best of our ability. But sometimes what you’re trying to achieve is best approached in quiet, as you hear the other person’s voice, their needs and their perspective - and yes, often enough, surrounding the most pressing business decisions - their emotions.
My father said "If you want to have what you say have impact, whether you’re pitching an idea, submitting a budget, proposing a plan of action – or simply asking someone for a date - you certainly need to make the best case you can but you’ll no doubt need these as well."
Then he handed me a box of fifty identical cards that he’d been tactfully handing out at the appropriate moment at meetings, in conference rooms, and at business dinners for years. (This was well before you could text a colleague live in the same meeting.)
And he said, “You can't listen when you're talking and so you can't learn. You’ll never “know it all”, so to sell anything, to convince someone or a team that what you’re proposing’s in their best interest, you’ve simply got to learn about them, from them - and the very best way to learn is to listen.”
The best, and briefest, career advice I ever got...