My grandfather, and I expect many of yours, always counseled me: “Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer.”
I counsel my clients to consider this adage when dealing with their most troublesome clients and business associates. You know the ones…they offer their opinions constantly, practice inactive listening and have an air of superiority that diminishes your position in any conversation. Put bluntly…they are windbags concerned only with themselves. But they must be managed and, you can do it!
Don’t Isolate Yourself
Several months ago a client of mine lamented that he generally always moves away from his “windbag” client versus listening and discussing essential issues. We examined how this created even greater problems: more micro-management/questions/drama that he didn’t want to, and couldn’t, address from this isolation.
It is precisely this type of person with whom you need to work harder at establishing a connection and find opportunities through which you can manage conversations.
Listening and Advising Brings You Closer
Case in point:
A client of mine has been “blessed” with a board member precisely out of “windbag central casting” — loud, wealthy, connected and…not bright. We spoke at length about how to “be” with this pivotal person given his worldwide associations and boisterous behavior.
The answer: remain connected to insure that his client doesn’t go rogue with unvetted ideas and assumed conclusions (he’s got many). The more my client spoke to and listened to his windbag, the more he discerned what was of bedrock importance to his client, and discovered how to shape his thinking from his forthcoming positions.
Doing this brought him closer, not further away, to his client as he established a better position from which to offer valued counsel and direction.
Try it, let me know…