Write it down!
Contributed by Jason Heard
Writing is a very powerful thing to do. From journaling to to-do lists, writing things down does everything from help you see your own personal evolution to remember to buy tomato sauce at the grocery store. Let’s look at it from a business standpoint. So, why take notes and write things down?
Remembering: When you are working with a person or a business, writing down their wants, desires, hopes, goals, needs, and their mission is paramount. Being able to refer to your notes as you build a plan for them is like a road map helping keep you on course. It allows you to physically see in your notes whether there is alignment in what they tell you. These things will help lead you to the “why.” Why do they have a certain need or want? What do they hope to accomplish Seeing these things written down can help you present your products, ideas, or simply advise in the best way possible based on what they want to get done.
Personalization: This is a bit different than remembering a need of your client. People respond positively when you make things more personal. Take notes on those special things about your clients! If your contact at a business loves sushi, then you know what to suggest for a lunch meeting. If they have child who plays baseball or softball, you can ask about the season when you contact them. Don’t get so caught up in the business part that you forget the individual. If you are meeting a client in person, look at their space. Are there pictures, plaques, certificates? Are they wearing a pendant, a ring, a tie, or anything that signifies what is important to them? We are all unique individuals. Though we might be part of a team, we like our own identity.
Slow things down: At times during a business conversation, things move quickly. Have a notepad and pen at the ready so you can slow down the conversation. As you are taking notes you can understand what they are really saying. If anything is unclear, ask them to clarify. It will show them that you are truly listening. Writing down important points and asking them to expand on what they mean will allow them to feel heard. You can also look for any conflicting information and work to solve it quicker. Also by slowing things down a bit and writing, you can keep some of your assumptions out of the conversation. You can deal a bit more in facts and what they are telling you. Without notes, you could be moving forward on what you think you heard and taking an incorrect path which could be hazardous to future presentations to them.
Some tips to make your writing and note-taking even more successful!
- When taking notes during an in-person conversation, have a nice notebook or pad of paper. It does not have to necessarily be expensive and leather bound, but it needs to be neat and clean.
- Always have a clean sheet for each new business or client meeting. Do not combine notes for multiple people on one page as it will make them feel less important.
- Before you meet, make sure you have a pen with ink in it and always carry more than one. Again, your pen does not need to be anything fancy, just a decent working pen.
- After the meeting and as soon as you can, reread your notes. If you missed something fill it in quickly and go over the
conversation. If it makes sense, send a recap email based on your notes to help ensure that you are on the right path. This email could be a “thank you for meeting with me” note and the recap would simply be highlights of the conversation.
Remember that all of us like to know our voices are heard. All of us want to feel unique, listened to, important and part of something bigger than ourselves. When you are doing business with someone, help them feel these things and leave them better then you found them. Just remember to write it down!