You see, Becca is the lovely daughter of some dear friends of ours. She and I formed a bond when she was two or three. I loved this little girl with all my heart and soul. And she loved me. I still remember years later, that crooked grin, little pug nose, and those piercing brown eyes looking into mine and feeling overcome with unconditional love.
One day when she was about five, she was sitting on my lap and she poked on my big belly. She asked "why are you fat?" As her mother rushed over, interjecting "I'm so sorry" I brushed it off and told her the truth. "I eat too much, Becca." I took that moment to share and educate about how eating too much food can lead to people being fat. She then pinched my upper arm and said "Is that how your arm got so big?" I said yes. She snuggled closer to me, resting her head in my bosom and said "That's okay. They look like butterfly wings."
I share this story because I think most business owners have lost their ability to be direct and forthcoming. It happens as owners are left with the reoccurring challenge when partners and/or clients break contracts and commitments. Over time, we become jaded and, most often, distrustful of the next person we do business with. You can prevent much of this by having signed contracts and STICKING WITH the terms of the contract: For example, don't start a project until your payment terms are met even if this client or partner is a good friend.
For the next month, try greeting potential clients and partners with the same directness as a five year old. Be your genuine self instead of putting up those walls. You will soon learn that person's integrity, and if it is a good match, stick with the plan. If not and you have an "icky" feeling, be direct and honest, like a child, and say "It's just not a good fit for me."
Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2012.