Chance encounters. We all have them—we sit next to someone on the train or stand in line behind a person when grabbing a cup of coffee in the morning. How many of these could be missed opportunities for networking and connecting? If we don’t engage that person, we might never know. But why should we talk to them—and perhaps continue to engage them? What difference can it make? As Whitney Johnson describes in her recent blog, An airline cancelled my flight and put me in a van. Along the way, I got lots of lessons on how *not* to network, it has the potential to be life changing.
Thanks to our technologically advanced world, there are many ways we can keep in touch with those people who matter most to us—seeing them in person, making phone calls, sending texts, emails, and/or posts on social media. When we reach out and touch someone it sends a message that this person matters to us. And the opposite is also true—when we let too much time slip by, we (often unconsciously) send a message that we have better things to do than to connect with this person and that they really aren’t that important to us.
There seems to be many “rules” that we can apply to the different things we encounter in life. For example, when trying to understand compound interest, we can refer to the “Rule of 72.” And the “Rule of Thirds” provides direction as to how to make visual images more appealing. While these rules come in handy from time to time, the “Rule of 150” could arguably affect your quality of life. In a nutshell, this rule refers to the maximum number of people with whom any person can build meaningful relationships.
“To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation.” [Chinese proverb] How true! Listening is the most impactful way I know to connect with another person. Unfortunately, it seems to me (and experts tend to agree) that most of us don’t know how to listen well.
Building a relationship requires time. That simple concept is widely accepted. So I was really curious when I read Michael Simmons’ blog To Create a Real Connection, Show Vulnerability in which he cited research about developing a relationship in 45 minutes.
Although we may take great care in preparing our sales calls—how to open, what questions to ask, how to close, etc.—we tend to forget about those other points of contact. We neglect to recognize that virtually any touch point can be a true selling opportunity. Preparing what to say when we engage a prospect/customer in any situation—voicemail, email messages, or impromptu meetings in an elevator—could be what separates the great from the good.