It may surprise you, but I can be socially awkward. Oh yes!
I recently typed “how to make friends with anyone” into Google. Great tips popped up, like “hold eye contact” and “give positive affirmation” and “listen, don’t talk.” All good things.
Then Steven Covey ruined my attempts to duct tape over my social weirdness. In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he talks about the character ethic versus personality ethic. The personality ethic teaches you to put on a great face, smile, make eye contact, etc., without changing who you are within. The character ethic teaches you to improve yourself. For example, instead of trying to make the person you are talking to think you care about them by maintaining eye contact, try actually caring about them and acting accordingly.
This is extremely relevant when talking to customers. If I try to sell our products to a customer, I actually need to care about whether or not they need them. If I don’t care and I just try to make the sale, they will see through me.
Every list in my Google search was more of a Band-Aid. It turns out I actually need to improve myself.
Pretty simple, right! Except sometimes it is actually quite hard.