We meet new people every day, in every phase of our lives. Most of us make immediate assessments and think we know whether someone is worth meeting or not. In my opinion, having met thousands of people over the past 30 years of business, we never know where the best introductions will come from. We believe the package can tell us everything about a person, but what if that isn’t the truth?
Some of the best introductions come from the most interesting and unexpected places. Doesn’t it make sense to give everyone a chance? Why don’t we meet with everyone we can? Maybe because we “don’t have enough time” or “we’re too busy.” Too busy doing what? What is more important than building our network? We need to create and nurture a deep network because you never know who is connected to whom.
In my 30 years, I’ve attended promising meetings that led to nothing, and meetings I’d normally never consider that led to the most amazing introductions. Everyone is put in our path for a reason and we need to be open to every possibility.
I think one of the main challenges during an initial conversation with someone is the message we want to get across. We don’t have an objective and don’t know how to tell our story succinctly. Since we don’t have a clear, concise story, we spend way too much time talking and not enough time listening.
If we can spend 60 minutes with someone and let them talk for at least 40 minutes, that’s good. If we are able to get our message across clearly in the 20 minutes we are talking or asking questions that is a great introductory meeting. We act as the listener and make the other person feel important. In our short window of time we need to be able to clearly articulate who we are, what we want to do and whom we want to meet. I’ve always believed that we can best demonstrate our skill by asking great questions. This process accomplishes our two desired outcomes; it demonstrates our knowledge and allows the other person to do most of the talking.
We have two issues here, whom to meet with and how to convey our message while being the listener. The first issue, whom to meet with, is not easy to decide. In the end, we want to be judicial with our time and make every minute count, but that might not produce the best results. We are so consumed by our need to be productive with our time that we prejudge who will provide the best opportunities. That is why I believe we should meet with everyone at least once.
Connecting the dots… one dot at a time!