Yesterday we celebrated my Grandfather's 80th birthday and if there's one thing I learned from him it's that small talk is really big talk. One of our family traditions is that he will invite me outside to the back porch to talk "big talk" which means we're going to just catch up on life. We rarely talk church, business, or finances. We simply talk about life.
When it comes to business I believe that too many people under value small talk. What I mean by small talk is simply catching up on life and genuinely getting to know each other. I often hear people say that they like to just get to the point and stay focused on the business at hand. While I understand and appreciate efficiency, I think this mindset builds a weak foundation for long term relationship and establishes necessary trust in a working relationship.
As I think about the various vendors that I work with I can confidently say that I like the people often more than the products they are selling. Because I have come to know and trust these people, it is not difficult in any way to use their services or products. The truth is that I know them well enough to know that they genuinely care about me as much as I care about them. I look forward to not just talking business, but hearing about their recent travels and catching up on family highlights. I know them and I trust them.
As you enter into 2015 I hope you will stop getting right to business with those you interact with and take some time to genuinely get to know them. Not only will it be more enjoyable, but I think you will also find that the time investment of the small talk will bring great value to your business relationship as well!