Pat shares his thoughts…
Robbie and I have been working the conference and trade show circuit heavily this year, scheduling many meetings with existing and potential clients, keeping our finger closely on the pulse of the industries and people we serve. We always enjoy sitting down face to face during these meetings and talking about strategies and solutions – and many people tell us that we’re actually quite good at it. In fact, I’ve thought about it, and it does seem we make more meaningful connections and build stronger relationships with more people every year. And I think I know why.
Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, has nearly 2 million Twitter fans, but he now says he hates the term, “social media.” Instead he’s shifted his focus from simply making connections to making meaningful collisions. Collisions are where you run into real, live people in the elevator, in the line at a store, in a restaurant, at the gas station, etc. – where you collide and actually talk to each other…and thereby find out how you can be of help to each other. What do you do/know, and/or what do they do/know? Where you can help each other succeed?
You would be amazed how many long-term relationships and connections we can make by simply saying hi to people wherever we are. To create a collision, simply ask, “What do you do?” Then really listen. When we work trade shows and conferences, we come back with 100s of business cards. It’s because Robbie and I are both machines at creating collisions. As we walk to a scheduled meeting or event (we leave early), along the way we might stop 10 to 15 people (between the two of us) in the elevator, in the hallway, on the way, and right outside the meeting room, etc. We simply reach out our hand and say, “Hello, I’m Pat - what’s your name?” And “What do you do? Cool - do you have a business card? Here’s mine.” This is greeting mode - and it works. You’d be surprised how many more people you can meet when you move from simply meeting mode to greeting mode.
This has application, not only in business, but in every other aspect of our lives, too. Don’t get so caught up in your glowing computer screen that you miss the glowing smile of a potential new friend or business prospect. Don’t get so lost in social media marketing that you forget how to have a meaningful conversation with a potential client you just collided with in an elevator.
For me, being in greeting mode is a way of life. My passion is meeting people and hearing their stories. It’s funny, because, if we run into someone that both Pat and I have met at a tradeshow previously, Pat will remember which company they work at and I will remember that they have twin girls that are two years old with curly red hair. That’s just the way I’m wired. So between Pat and I, we have a pretty clear snapshot of the individual as a whole.
People respond to those who are genuine and are fun to interface with. The fact that you see individuals as people and have taken time to remember their history makes an impact on them. Bottom line is: connecting with those around you is an excellent way to broaden your network and impact both yours and others’ lives in a positive manner. The Bell telephone company got it right when they came up with the slogan: “reach out and touch someone.”
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