Do Talk To Strangers, pages 19-21
You might be looking for a book to help you connect with people so that you can further your career and business. Read on and this will help you significantly, but I’m asking you to put aside your specific business goals for the moment and take a closer look at your thinking and your attitude towards others. Maybe you’ll find that your goals fit beautifully with what you’re reading. However, letting go of being attached to an outcome brings surprising results.
Let’s take a deeper look into what goes on in the creating and building of connections and discovering a whole new world opening up. It’s about participating in great conversations, the adventures that unfold, and the connection between human beings that is possible when we take a chance. We’ll go behind the scenes, and look closely at what happens before you even set eyes on a stranger who could become your friend, colleague, mentor or client.
There are many books and events about how to network for business, how to impress people, and how to make people buy from you. This book and my events aren’t typical business networking. It’s natural to think “What’s in it for me?” but please don’t let that be the first thing that comes out of your mouth. I’ve heard people say this, and it’s an immediate ‘disconnector’. When this intention is ahead of serving others it’s a filter that actually blocks your sense of possibilities. I believe that the best way to connect with anyone, whether for business or friendship, is to present them with yourself, the real you, the curious you, the authentic you, with your attention fully on them, listening without thinking of what to say next, being in the moment and open. It’s about an attitude of service – how can I serve this person? It’s being open to what is possible. Which may turn out to be a big win for you, for them, or for someone else, and it will be joy.
There’s a world of difference between an attitude of “What’s in it for me?”, or an intention to connect for your own agenda, and one of genuinely caring, being interested in people with a heart to serve others and make a difference. It’s servant leadership. This isn’t servitude or being a doormat, but something the best leaders understand. Leading by example, thinking of others, hearing what they’re saying. Listening in a way that is a gift to others as well as yourself. You can learn to be a great listener. You can rediscover your innate curiosity and your authentic self.
We begin life curious and open and expressive. Babies cry and laugh freely. They grow up and become shaped by the opinions and judgements of those around them – “Do this, don’t do that, be quiet, speak up, have a go, don’t be silly, don’t talk to strangers, play it safe”. Oh, and this classic – “Contain yourself!” Have you ever been a little ‘too’ excited, joyful or expressive in a way that has made others uncomfortable? It’s just that they don’t relate, they don’t share the joy – but that doesn’t mean you have to always dampen it. If we do contain ourselves, we are literally putting a lid on our joy, our creativity and expression, and we screw the lid on tight. And become uptight. No longer free. Sound familiar?
What takes up most of your thoughts? Is it making things happen, getting things done, adding more items to your list, and not enough ticks of accomplishment? So much busy-ness gets in the way of connecting with others, which could make all the difference in the world.
This book comes in three parts:
• the first part goes through my model of how to talk to strangers and connect with people
• the second part is how to apply this in any scenario, with anyone, anywhere
• the third part includes resources to continue your learning and sharing.
I have many stories of the rewards of talking to strangers – some have become friends, associates, clients and mentors. Some have opened a door of opportunity for me, which generally opens doors for others, and some are people I’ve been able to connect with others who can support them or they can receive support from. People come into your life sometimes just for a moment, and sometimes for a lifetime.
I hope that as you read this book you’ll turn some of our tips and your ideas into actions, and that your insights will not only change the way you see the world, and increase the ease with which you connect with strangers, but it will connect you more powerfully where it really counts – those nearest and dearest.