Many entrepreneurs struggle to talk about their business in a way that people on the other end of the conversation find engaging. When you can openly talk about your business and make people take interest, it can lead to new relationships and possibly even new clients.

"The #1 most important thing to learn is how to have a great conversation," says Rohit Bhargava, founder of the Non-Obvious Company.1 "Here’s a newsflash that might surprise you about this: it is NOT about what you say. Instead, you need to learn to listen intently and share personal stories while asking leading questions (questions that relate to the conversation and require more than just a yes or no response). If you can do these two things well, everyone you speak with will rate you as an amazing conversationalist and rate their conversations with you as among the best they had all night."

1. Ask the person about their own line of work (and actually engage)

People are always more willing to listen to what you have to say if you are listening to what they have to say. Ask the person about their own line of work, and follow up with questions that show that you are actually interested.

2. Talk about what made you want to start the business

One great point to discuss is how you arrived at the idea of starting this business in the first place. Chances are you had some source of inspiration, and if it inspired you, it may at least prove interesting to others. Many people who don't own their own businesses are fascinated by people who have been able to do so because they dream of being their own boss. Other entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are often interested from the peer perspective, and may want to swap stories or trade notes about past successes.

3. Find a way to relate your business to the person you're talking to

One great thing about learning what the other person does is that it gives you an opportunity to understand their perspective. This can help you find a way to relate your line of work to their life experience. If no direct line of relevance comes immediately to mind, try to ask them questions about subjects that pertain to your business and help them understand how what you do applies to their life or experiences.

4. Discuss the problem your business solves

Marc Parham at SCORE2 says you should talk about the problem your business is solving, the people who have that problem, your solution to it, why they should buy from you, and where to find you. Then, stop.

"Let the person ask questions to find out more about your business," he says. "This is when to answer the questions that are most important to the person you’re talking to. Answer the questions so they will take action."

5. Let the person ask questions

Finally, be open to questions from the person with whom you're speaking. There's no better way to get them more interested in what you do than to directly respond to the things they're specifically inquiring about. If they're asking, they may have a good reason beyond basic conversation. It might go no further than that, but the more they know about your business, the more likely they'll think about you if they need your services or products.

Remember that half of talking is listening to the person you're talking to. A major factor in generating interest in any conversation is allowing the other person to be an active participant. When it comes to talking business, this is crucial, because you don’t want to end up sounding like a commercial.

1. https://www.rohitbhargava.com/2010/12/how-to-talk-business-at-a-social-event-without-turning-people-off.html

2. https://www.score.org/blog/6-tips-talking-about-your-business-anyone

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC