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The Importance of Perspective

Eric Byrd April 27, 2020 1549

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Perspective is critical and getting good at putting yourself in other’s shoes can help you figure out how to engage in meaningful ways. That, after all is the key to good networking. if there’s no conversation, then there’s no point in networking.

Episode 018: During the last few weeks I’ve been talking to people who are having very different experiences for their business. Some are crazy worried, some are doing very well indeed. It seems each person, and their business, is having a different experience during this global pandemic. It got me thinking that we should talk about the role perspective plays, not only in our experience of crisis, but of everyday interactions. We, as networkers, are looking to engage people in order to find connections. Yet, if we are not able to identify with their perception, we may be at a serious disadvantage. This episode we’ll delve into that thinking a bit and I’ll share something I do when creating qualification questions to help me stay out of my own thought bubble.

If you are not coping well with despair and it is starting to get the better of you please, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at (800) 273-8255. Don’t give in to darkness, there are people who care and who will help you.

What do you think?

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This episode we don’t have an infographic. Instead here are some reputable links to get information about the coronavirus and COVID-19 outbreak.

World Health Organization Workplace Readiness (pdf)

Centers for Disease Control Resources for Businesses (website)

Centers for Disease Control Guidelines for Large Community Events (website) 50 State Health Department Resources (website)

Episode Text:


Eric (00:00):
Now, this may sound overly simplistic, but I think that it’s really easy to get stuck in our own echo chamber or in our own perspective of what our products and services are and what we do.

Cordanna (Announcer) (00:12):
Helping you make the most of your lead share or referral group. It’s the adventures and networking podcast. Here’s your host Eric Byrd.

Eric (00:20):
Well, we’re still in lockdown and people are hating it except the ones who aren’t. Seems like not everyone is having the same experience. So today let’s talk about the importance of perspective.

Eric (00:44):
Well, we’re still in stay home mode and I’ve been talking to a lot of people remotely lately. I don’t know about you. Working at home generally seems to be working okay for me. Hopefully it’s working okay for you. Have definitely been talking to people using zoom video or Skype or WebEx. I think I’ve used about every tool that there is at this point and my cell phone has been getting lots of use on top of that. So a talk this week to a business who is completely shut down about how they were going to look at the disaster programs and what assistance they could get and how they had made the decision early to go ahead and furlough their people and, and just shut down mostly due to the nature of their business. And then I talked to another person who, to be honest, is maybe busier than ever and the challenges that they’re having are exactly the opposite.

Eric (01:42):
It’s how do we get people to do more work? How do we recruit more people and get them out to talk to our customers without actually getting them out to talk to our customers? So there seems to be lots of variations of the experience we’re all having as the economy goes, sort of topsy turvy honest. And I started to notice that there are lots of variations in between as I’ve talked to people the last six weeks or so. And it’s odd not seeing people in person, but in a strange sort of way. I’m actually working with more people than I’ve ever worked with before, at least in a compressed timeframe. There’s a lot of collaboration going on inside the organization that I work with most of the time, the small business development center and I’m interacting with people from all around the state of Virginia and actually other places in the country, far more regularly and often that I actually have in the past.

Eric (02:44):
Not only that, I’m also talking to the businesses in my area and Loudon County, Virginia much more often than I had been as well. Now a lot of the conversations are because they have questions about programs we’re advising people about and that we have information about, but not just that. A lot of it is reassurance or just wanting to have a conversation and wanting to get some input or feedback or validation of thinking. As I was doing this and I was specifically working on a project related to helping businesses to get into recovery mode because we’re trying to think ahead of things for when we open back up and we’re all allowed to come back out. And I started to notice that that and the experiences that I had been noticing people having were so varied and that there was a concept that I just keep coming back to that also happens to be extremely critical in networking.

Eric (03:48):
And that’s the concept of perspective. So I want to talk a little bit about perspective today and I have some thoughts on it. Um, I’ve always thought that it’s extremely important, especially from a sales perspective in my sales career over 30 some years perspective was probably the most useful thing that I had at times regardless of features and benefits of products. But being able to understand the perspective of the people I was talking to actually was very, very helpful all along my career. So what is it about this idea of perspective? Why is perspective so important? When we are interacting with each other, but specifically when we are interacting with each other professionally and in a networking context. When we are trying to get others to want to engage with us and want to have conversations with us, the first thought that occurs to me is, well, first of all, understanding where they are coming from and what their situation is, helps me to understand what might be useful for them.

What do you think?

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Eric (05:06):
Now, this may sound overly simplistic, but I think that it’s really easy to get stuck in our own echo chamber, if you will, or in our own perspective of what our products and services are and what we do. In other words, we have the curse of knowledge about being an expert in our field and that I think can often get in the way. So having the ability to get yourself out of your own worldview and being able to drop yourself into somebody else’s, even if it’s not a completely different worldview, but even looking at different aspects of what you do or what your services are, what aspects of your products are might help you to see what you do in a different light and help you understand what other people might find useful and valuable. And that’s where I think the rubber meets the road for us, especially as networkers are business people because that concept of understanding somebody else’s perspective is critical in business because their perception determines what they feel is important and what they are likely to take action about or not take action about as the case may be.

Eric (06:31):
So it’s their perspective of value. What do they find valuable? And as we start to look at helping businesses to come out of this current crisis in strange time, it seems to me that I keep coming back to this concept of understanding what somebody might think is valuable at any given moment in time. What is that value proposition that I am making to somebody? And what makes that concept work? Why is that important? And I believe that it’s all wrapped up in perspective. Not everyone thinks the same thing is important or valuable. And not only that, but even the same person might have a different value judgment on something at a different time. So right now certain things are extremely valuable to all of us being able to go outside, grocery shopping, delivery, restaurants, things like this. Getting your hair cut right? These things have suddenly become extremely important when four or five months ago they may have seemed extremely routine and maybe not quite at such an importance level because you could always go get your haircut or you could stop by the grocery store on your way home and not have to worry about anything.

Eric (08:01):
So the perception not only is different from person to person, but it can shift with each individual person from one situation to another situation. And this I believe is really important to keep in mind right now because let’s face it, everybody’s perspective is shifted right now. If you were trying to get somebody’s attention, if what you were saying is not important to them, then they’re probably going to be less inclined to listen. Or even if they do listen, they may not remember it or remember it very well. So regardless of whether we’re selling or not selling directly, that’s a critical concept and that’s a really important thing for us to think about as we go out into the world in a networking context because networking all about having conversations and that ultimately means you have to get somebody interested in talking to you or interacting with you, and if you don’t know what they’re interested in or you don’t know what might be important to them, then it’s going to be that much harder for you to figure out how to engage them in a conversation.

Eric (09:16):
Now, there’s lots of different types of motivation. There’s lots of reasons someone might have a conversation. Now I see all the time that people have conversations for the reason that it’s what you’re supposed to do. I know lots of people who network because they’re supposed to network, and I’m not saying that that’s wrong or that that’s bad, but I do tend to see that it tends to be less effective because they’re out there talking to people because they’re supposed to talk to people, not because they actually have any clear idea why they’re talking to people or what they’re looking for. Now, that’s not to say that the whole process needs to be a completely self-serving. If you can’t do anything for me, I’m not going to talk to you because that’s actually not true. What I do think is true is that the more conscious you are about why you’re doing what you’re doing, even if you’re doing it for no specific selfish reason, or if your value is helping other people, well, there’s a component of that that is still about you, that it’s important for you to help other people.

Eric (10:26):
Now, maybe you’re helping other people so that they will help you when you need it. Okay? Maybe you’re just helping other people because you like to help other people. Okay, great. You get a feel good for that, but that’s important. Understanding the perspective of the people that we are interacting with becomes fairly important because if you’re talking to someone and you want them to engage back, knowing whether they’re one or the other of those types tends to be really helpful and engaging them in a conversation. And I think that’s why I keep coming back to this idea of how important perspective is and the ability to be able to shift my perspective to at least partially encompass the other person or people’s perspectives that I’m interacting with and dealing with. And by the way, that empathy can be an extremely powerful relationship building tool as well, especially when it’s genuine and authentic because we as human beings recognize that we pick up that somebody genuinely wants to talk to us or not.

Eric (11:37):
And though we may need to talk to people every now and then, you may not really want to be talking to them. And those interactions where you genuinely want to interact with somebody tend to feel a little bit different and be a little bit more productive. So how do you expand your own perspective to be able to incorporate somebody else’s perspective? First off, I think when we start asking questions, we want to think of the questions and frame the questions, not from our perspective but from their perspective. So this is a technique in sales as well that I have taught to salespeople along the years, which is when I’m trying to create my qualification questions. Well, the way most people do it is they say, well, what is it that I do and what are the features and benefits of what I provide and how would I see if they were interested in giving me money?

Eric (12:40):
If they did this and this and this, then they would be ready to give me money and and buy it. And that’s valid and you can do that and you might even be right. However, I think it’s more powerful and maybe even more effective if instead you think, well, what is it about our products that certain people really want and really like? And if I was that kind of a person, what would I be thinking? How would I be phrasing things? How would I be seeing these things and what question could I ask that person to draw out how they are thinking about it, to see if it matches that perspective and those answers. It’s especially important when you’re in a commodity market and there’s a whole bunch of other people that do essentially the same thing that you do and you’re trying to differentiate yourself from 10 15 other people in the market that basically offer the same service and or products that you do.

Eric (13:51):
So in this case, how you present yourself and how the other person perceives what you do and how you do it. The more subtle the match, the better the fit. Asking yourself some questions from the other person’s point of view. Sometimes that may require you to sit down with some of your customers or some people you know who are in that position, who are those people and to ask them if they would share what their thinking is and tell you what their perspective is and what they’re thinking and how they’re thinking about it, in which case you can then more easily potentially put yourself in their shoes. Now, one thing I’ve been able to do over the years that I have always found fun and interesting is once I start doing that, I start to actually have a slightly different perception of what it is that I do and often that will open a creative door and I will get ideas about what I might able to do that I hadn’t quite thought of or another way that I could present what I do in such a way that it would be more meaningful and more interesting to a certain set of people.

Eric (15:02):
Because once I know where they’re coming from, then I have a much better idea about how to talk about something to see if it might be valuable for them. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re face to face physically in person, face to face, over video or just on a phone call. So hopefully that’s helpful for the next week or so as you are interacting with people and trying to get their attention and all of the noise and buzz looking forward. Definitely to the time when we can all come back out and interact in person with each other. And I’m curious, what is it that you are looking forward to most once the stay at homes and lockdowns are over and you’re able to get out and interact in person, what do you miss the most? What are you looking forward to the most? I’m very, very curious.

Eric (15:54):
Leave a comment or record a question and let us know. Shoot an email if you’d like. Visit the and leave a comment on the page. And if you wouldn’t mind, and if you’ve been listening and you like the show, a nice review at Apple podcasts is always, always appreciated as we continue to exist in this fairly strange time. May you stay safe and well in whatever circumstances you find yourself, we will all get together again. So keep taking it a day at a time. It’s all part of life. And as we know, life is an adventure, so keep exploring. Be safe.

Speaker 2 (16:55):
[inaudible] [inaudible].

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