A commentary by Bob McKinnon, South West U.S. Divisional President, EXIT Realty Corp. International

As a shy introverted teen, I admitted to my father that I was uncomfortable in conversations with grownups. My Dad then sat down and taught me the following great lesson that I still use to this day.

According to Dad, the best way to make myself and others more comfortable was to move the conversation away from me and toward them.  Dale Carnegie, in his masterpiece book How to Win Friends and Influence People, teaches to “become genuinely interested in the other person.”  Dad helped me by demonstrating and role-playing with me for a while, and I learned a tool that has served me all of my life — F.O.R.M.





In every listing and recruiting meeting I have had over the years, I’ve started with this question:  “Thank you for meeting with me. Before we start talking business may I get to know you better?”  Then continued with:  (F) Tell me about your family? (O) What do you do, or what kinds of jobs have you held in the past? (R) What do you and your family do for fun? (M) So tell me, what do you need to accomplish with this house (or career)? Why?

Dad warned me not to go through the four questions like an interrogation, but to be light and friendly, nodding my head and asking additional questions such as, “Really? You love travel, so what is the most exciting trip you have taken?”  He advised me to become curious and engaging with the conversation.

As a result, I usually leave a meeting or dinner knowing a great deal about the other person, having had a fun exchange.  In most cases they know very little about me, but that is okay for now.  In business, as socially, I have been complimented many times on being a great conversationalist.  It is so much easier and rewarding to move the energy and attention toward the other person and off of yourself.

Try it and see how others react to you.

Bob McKinnon is a leader’s leader.  As a California broker, Bob sold real estate, owned and managed portions of five real estate companies, was a franchisor, a corporate manager and Director.  He was a pioneer in the CENTURY 21 system developing and eventually selling one of the first regions in the system.  In 2012, Bob became the South West U.S. Divisional President for EXIT Realty, working with regional owners to help to grow EXIT’s presence.   Bob’s vast experience positions him to coach EXIT Realty Associates in how to build prosperous businesses and improve both their careers and their lives.




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