It is so beneficial to give people their “moment” and allow for a time to make sure we are present and engaged with all the running around we do! One of my favorite spontaneous moments of doing the “right” thing was when business guru and “Shark Tank” start Barbara Corcoran came to a weekend episode of “Good Morning America.” For some reason she and her team didn’t have a private dressing room area. I overheard that she was not sure where she would get dressed and I heard someone suggest the bathroom. I didn’t think that was hospitable and I spoke up and offered up my office. She and her team accepted my offer. I had written a note to her and left it on my couch, “please take a moment to relax; just make yourself at home.” I know what it’s like to need to get away from the cameras to just have a couple minutes to be still, and quiet. I still have the sweet thank you card from her that she scribbled saying, “Your mom raised you right!”
I recall interviewing actor Anthony Daniels about his memoir, ” I AM CP30.” I had a gut level feeling to talk to him about one particular point before we sat down. ( I actually ran into him in the make up room) I just had this intuition that it would be best to talk to him off camera for a bit before the microphones were on. We ended up having the most lovely conversation! Sometimes with our schedules we don’t have a lot of time and run from one assignment to another. I have realized that if we don’t make the time – even if it’s 5 additional minutes – to really be present before an interview, or a presentation or a video call, we may not get the same results if we had stopped to prepare. I demand of my time to give everyone a chance to breathe.
Many of us who are experts and have interviewed or consulted with a lot of people can come off “too-smart” or even condescending. It is not necessarily our delivery. People can feel when you are highly intelligent. Don’t shrink back, but don’t be so quick to tell what you know. What I have had to do multiple times is allow the person I am talking to to be the smartest person in the room. That way they know I have confidence in their ability to answer questions.
When I look at them as “the expert,” whether I have more degrees or experience or not, they feel respected and that honor leads to a more interesting conversation. Allow them to speak more as you listen.