On shutting my mouth, knowing my room and looking out for #1

You know what I’m into these days? Shutting my mouth and letting other people make me smarter.

There are so many people out there with incredible knowledge of a given topic or industry. They have spent years working through a challenge and now possess answers worth their weight in gold.

So when I watch a video tutorial or have a chance at a 1-on-1 lesson, I stop talking and start listening.

And that’s when the “a ha” moments happen. That’s when I learn genius new concepts.

Who can you ask for advice this week? Once the person starts to drop knowledge bombs, you need to nod furiously, take notes and generally be a sponge.

Never stop absorbing.

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Here’s the thing: you’ve gotta know your room.

When you have the chance to speak in front of a group, your talk must be customized for the people in the seats. What do they care about? How should you adjust your message?

A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t fly when you give a presentation. Think about the audience first, and you’ll never go wrong.

Unless, of course, you talk too much. But that’s a different topic for a different day.

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And finally … never apologize for looking out for your own career.

If other people think you’re “pushy,” so be it. No one – and I mean no one – will fight for you as hard as you’ll fight for yourself.

Bosses, business partners and others you deal with generally have good intentions, but they are focused on their own bottom line – as they should be.

Make people remember you provide a special kind of value they can’t find anywhere else.

This article first appeared on DannyRubin.com.