Beyond the Build


A Few Things to Remember

It’s the season for holiday parties, when we’re often catching up with folks we haven’t seen in a while and meeting a few new faces. It’s a good time to dust off best practices for getting to know people, whatever the setting. Here are a few that have proven most powerful for me:

Name recall. It sounds simple, but it’s one of the most over-looked skills that is the most impactful. I am not always very good at this, but saying the person’s first name back to them, then mentally associating that name with something or someone seems makes it a bit easier.

Ask a question. I try not to talk about myself or our company, but rather ask a question about family and then something beyond. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to find common ground beyond just a social connect, and who knows where this may lead.

Listen. Listening, and I mean really listening, is a skill that takes practice. It starts with opening your mind to evaluate someone’s words from their perspective and not your own. If one can master this technique, it’s a real advantage for establishing a relationship.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.