One of the most useful and practical strategies I teach leaders and salespeople to win with people is The Rule of Two.
I was speaking for Anthem Insurance in California and at one of the breaks a salesman named Joe asked if he could share an insight with me. Earlier that day, I’d taught about focusing on being interested, not interesting, and he said it reminded him of a rule he made for himself years ago called The Rule of Two.
Joe told me how he was called out early in his career for one-upping other people. It was affecting how he connected (or didn’t connect) with others and it was undermining the influence he was trying to build. Joe decided to fix it and so he developed The Rule of Two. When someone says something about themselves, ask at least two questions before you say anything about yourself.
As an example: your good friend says they like boating – they just bought an expensive boat and they go every weekend to the lake. You may be thinking, “What a bragger, oh really, well I...” But then you stop yourself and remember The Rule of Two. you respond: “I bet your family really enjoys that. How did you decide on the right boat for the family? And what was your favorite family moment at the lake this year?”
Wow, how that changed everything! You felt great about being truly interested in your friend — your friend stopped his normal chatter and thought a minute about what was truly important about the boat and shared with you a personal moment with his family and experience. You made a connection that will not be forgotten, that could have been missed without using The Rule of Two.
Now think about doing that as a leader. Would you build stronger, long-lasting relationships by actually listening and responding from a place of interest? The next time you are heading down the road of one-upping, give Joe’s idea a try. Use the principle of The Rule of Two!