Steve Sims is a big dude with a big personality. He lives what he calls a “Four Seasons Lifestyle” and created his business, Bluefish, working with and around the rich and famous. We’re not talking YouTubers or ubiquitous “influencers,” Sims plays in the big leagues with the likes of Elton and Elon.
While he is a massive business success and bestselling author, he rolls up to fancy locales on his motorbike sporting a black t-shirt and piercings, not because he wants to fit in but because he doesn’t want to make small talk. Sims doesn’t even own a car because, “I don’t have to talk to anyone,” and, as he says, “I don’t have to give anybody a lift.”
Sims, who left school at 15 to work as a bricklayer in East London, is the Guest Czar on next week’s episode of the Communications Czar podcast. From his perch working the door at London nightclubs, he became a voracious student of human behavior,
“I wanted to know how rich people acted and transacted,” he explained.
He paid attention, refined his approach, leveraged his natural curiosity, and eventually built a global high-end concierge business. Now that Sims has achieved his own level of success, he is writing, coaching, and speaking to entrepreneurs and anyone else who wants to improve their lot in life.
Not one to mince words, Sims has a knack for distilling everyday life down into memorable teaching moments. Here are 7 nuggets he shared about thriving in a world of extroverts:
- Invest time and resources into learning how to express yourself. Having worked with many professionals in the tech space, I know that the world is full of people with great technical skills and a dearth of communication skills. Sims’ advice to his fellow introverts:
“Well, let’s be blunt if you’ve got a great idea because if you can’t communicate that, it’s dead.”
2. Lead with being a solution. The world will be very forgiving if you can show that you can solve their problems. “When something is a solution to your problem, all the prettiness falls by the wayside,” Sims observes. When you have a headache, for example, “You just want a problem solved, you don’t care about the pretty box.” Highlight the solution you provide. Solve your customers’ problems and they won’t care about what you look like.
3. Practice initiating conversations. He challenges his students to go into a coffee shop and start a conversation with someone who is doing what he calls the “Cappuccino Shuffle,” when they order their coffee, they step aside and hold their phone with both hands, lower their head and give their rapt attention to the screen. “Strike up a conversation with the person who is most guarded, someone who is actively trying not to have a conversation.” Pay them a compliment and see what happens. Practice this often. The more you do this, the easier it will become for you to extend yourself in business or social situations.
4. Start asking open-ended questions. Questions that require more than a one-word answer will draw people out and facilitate conversation. When it comes to asking questions, Sims’ favorite starting point is, “Why.” “I discovered years ago that it’s the most confrontational word on the planet,” but, as he points out, it is a great way to uncover motivations.
“If someone said you could only use 10 words in your entire life, ‘why’ would be the first one I’d choose,” he states.
5. “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, that is where the growth is,” Sims teaches.
“I am a really good speaker and coach and trainer now, but only because I used to be a really bad one — so I have failed so many times. I had to teach myself, to give myself the MBA, the PhD, on how NOT to do it and how to do it properly — so don’t be scared of failure, be scared of not trying.”
6. “Stop being so smart and start being more curious.” Indulge your curiosity. “You want to get that little curious kid in you,” Sims encourages. “I want to know what that button does, I want to know how you work, I want to know and I’m gonna ask.” You will be surprised how disarming honest curiosity can be. Most people find genuine curiosity and enthusiasm to be very engaging and will oftentimes be very generous with the information that they share.
7. Stop trying to fit in.
“No one fantastical, or amazing, or anyone that we revere, strived to fit in,” Sims observes.
Don’t waste a millisecond of your precious time worrying about trying to be like everyone else.
“I am very much an introvert that knows how to turn on being an extravert when required,” Sims observes. Push yourself to connect with other people when you need to. “Communication is the most powerful talent and skill we have in the world,” Sims opines. Practice it. Challenge yourself. Aim high.
“Start going for what is ridiculous and stupid instead of what you think is achievable,” Sims says. “Be scared of meeting the person you could have been had you taken that risk.”
You only get one go-round in life. Resist the temptation to sit and watch from the sidelines. Step out, go for what you want and make it a good one.
Listen to the entire interview with
on the Communications Czar Podcast hosted by Roseann Galvan on Apple, Spotify, Audible, or www.CommunicationsCzar.com.