If you are going to build relationships with people then you must be able to relate to them. Sounds straight forward doesnt it?
I am continually amazed by the number of people who cannot hold a conversation on any issue outside of their profession or area of expertise. Do you really think that your clients are going to be as one minded and as singular in their thoughts as you are?
And what if you are consulting in a different area? One of the things that we now know as consultants is that success, true success, comes from being able to deploy good consulting skills across a range of areas, not just in one very focussed area. (That is often laden with competitors.)
Want to braoden your horizons? Try some of these tips:
Read. read a lot and read often, if you don't like to read then get an iPod and listen to Audio books from Audible.com. I read 3 - 4 business books a month. My latest "Meatball Sundae" by Seth Godin was a real eye opener and I am determined to adopt a lot of what he spoke about.
Here are some great authors for you in the business world. Seth Godin, (of course) Alan Weiss, (None sharper) Tom Peters, (The revolutionary).
Again. Don't just read about what you do, read about what other people do as well. Read about saving time, presenting skills, marketing, consulting, managing, people management, recruiting, innovation, design, web trends.
And don't just stop there. Scour the web for relevent reports and referneces relating to consulting. I use Gartner Group and Aberdeen Group religiously in my work. Great sources of information that enables me to pluck leading practices out of the air during all sorts of conversatuions.
Be updated. read the news on Google, listen to it in the radio or watch the 6 O'clock every day. (Does that even exist anymore?) Get Google alerts for news in your industry, your client base, your interests or for people that you are watching in the media.
Read blogs!!! Writing this blog has changed me personally and changed the way I do business. it has also changed the way I write and the way that I focus my energies. Because I write a blog I have tuned into others also. How to Change the World, Seths Blog, Alans Blog and Duct Tape Marketing are all great for consulting professionals.
And then there are podcasts. I have riffed on podcasts many times here but the basic message stays the same. Do it! My knowledge has trebled in the last three months, and I have discovered that there has been an incredible increase in the number of things I know nothing about!
If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to this feed, or you can subscribe to Consulting Pulse by email.