SMITH BRAIN TRUST — Everybody has an opinion. How do you get yours noticed in an organization full of smart, ambitious people? Julius Robinson, who climbed the corporate ladder from part-time wage earner to vice president at Marriott International, shares tips in “Beyond Business,” a podcast series hosted by professor Gary Cohen at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. Robinson, who leads Marriott’s Autograph Collection Hotels & Tribute Portfolio, is also a 2006 Smith School executive MBA alumnus. He says being heard in a crowded space starts with listening, a key component of executive presence.
“Many people hear what you’re saying, but not many people are listening to what you’re saying,” Robinson says. “Those of us who can learn from others’ mistakes truly without having to make them ourselves — it’s a really hard skill but it’s a really good thing to grasp onto. Listening to people tell their stories, listening to their pitfalls, listening to the things that have helped them grow, might help you avoid needing to go through that at some point.”
Robinson describes five other habits that have guided his 25-year career in hospitality.
Network: “It’s really about relationships,” he says. “In a company as large as the one I work for, it’s really about, ‘Hey, how do I develop a relationship that takes this beyond the task at hand?’”
Inspire: When it’s time to speak up, Robinson says effective communicators tell stories that inspire. “You have to paint a picture for people as to what the end result is,” he says.
Focus: Effective communicators also learn brevity. “People don’t have a lot of time,” Robinson says.
Backfill: Having a compelling story isn’t enough. “Once you get them to see what the end vision could look like, then you start to backtrack,” Robinson says. You must be prepared to say: “‘Well, here’s the vision, and here are the steps we can do to get where we want to go.”
Practice: “In terms of getting in front of people and sharing my story, it’s trial and error,” Robinson says. “Doing it as often as you can is important.”
Listen to his full conversation with Cohen below (35:13), and check out other Beyond Business episodes.