I was doing a presentation at the Chapters a couple of weeks ago and a guy said, "Look, you've got some great ideas on meeting business people, but what about meeting new friends and maybe women?" Got me thinking ….
GETTING CONNECTED is a requirement, almost like breathing, to be successful in your business. How is it different from social meetings or meeting "the right one".
It seems simple enough however it's not, as we all know. Why is that? Why is it so challenging to meet and get to know people who would enjoy meeting us, for business or pleasure?
Did you know that 93% of us are uncomfortable entering new situations, such as going to a networking meeting or a bar for that matter, and meeting strangers? Where does this fear rank on a scale? Right up there. We fear spiders more, but just barely. Connecting with someone new for the first time is a very big deal for many of us.
We really want to connect because it is human nature and it is a big part of our happiness. At the same time it has to FEEL SAFE and then it has to FEEL GOOD.
SO MAKE IT EASY AND SAFE FOR PEOPLE AND MAKE IT FEEL GOOD AND THEY WILL BE YOUR CUSTOMER, IF NOT YOUR FRIEND, FOR LIFE. HOW'S THAT FEEL?
THERE'S NO CATCH. That'S "IT". "IT" TAKES A SERIOUS COMMITMENT ON OUR PART.
HOWEVER, IT IS AN EASY COMMITMENT TO MAKE.
IT'S WORTH REPEATING "MAKE IT EASY AND SAFE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS TO CONNECT AND MAKE IT FEEL GOOD AND THEY WILL BE YOUR CUSTOMER, IF NOT YOUR FRIEND, FOR LIFE."
So how do we make it 'easy' and make it '' Feel 'safe' for US? So how do you deal with this fear yourself? Knowing about it is a great start. Knowing that other people have the same fear is a great advantage – now you know your customers want to connect and can use your help to make it safe and cool.
What about the people we see that are really good at it and effortlessly meet one person after another, making friends, connecting, selling and building their customer and personal contacts? What about them? Susan RoAne, author of "How to Work A Room" and recognized expert on what it takes to 'connect' calls these people "ConverSENsations (TM)"!
She says; "75% of these ConverSENsations (TM) still think of themselves as shy. These were people who seemed to be gregarious, but really they worked through their shyness." because it was worth it to them. Mostly it comes down to stepping out of your comfort zone and discovering that whatever you are going to say or do is just fine.
My wife is a ConverSENsation (TM) She suggested I go to a donut shop and ask for a pepperoni pizza and a bottle of Chardonnay. I said, "I'll look like I'm crazy.
She said, "Just see what happens." I did not want to do it. I would look silly. I had lots of rationalizations but really no reason. I just did not want to do it. It was FEAR. No way. Yes, FEAR.
So I did it. It was great! Very cool. I came right home and made some great business calls. Try it. You will be surprised and pleased I bet. We tend to think things are going to be much more dramatic than they turn out to be. Maybe it has something to do with our identity – more on that later. Above all, know you are not alone and others will love being helped when you connect with them.
One universal piece of advice I get and read about everywhere is to prepare yourself before talking to someone new or a customer or potential customer. Preparation includes knowing a little about the situation and maybe about them, whether it is a meeting at their office, a telephone call or a lunch get-together. As a start, it helps to be confident in knowing the reaction you get is not about you, it is about the other person.
One of the most effective tools ConverSENsations use is making small talk as a great way to get started and establish a comfort zone.
To make it really easy, think of something positive you could say about the location, a mutual group or association, the person you are meeting, a thought about the event, yourself …. up with a starter. The preparation step above really helps here.
By being yourself, being interested in the person you are meeting and having something to say to get things rolling, the conversation will get started. It will take on a life of it's own and go where it needs to go.
One thing we all know is that once that conversation takes off, it usually goes
really well. Just needs a bit of runway.