When you first meet someone, what is your focus? Are you wondering about how you may be of service to that person? Or are you thinking about what they can do for you? I’ve spent a fair amount of time networking and meeting new people over the past decade, and I find it very interesting that there are still many people who are all about ‘ME first’, rather than being of service.
Gratitude Tip: When meeting a new person, whether it be in a business networking event, at the grocery store or even at a party, focus on them first. Give thanks for the opportunity to connect with someone new, and gratitude for the possibility of creating a new relationship. Ask questions and listen with an open and grateful heart. Look for ways that you can be of service – not how I can sell you my stuff – but being genuine in giving of yourself and helping them get what they want.
It makes me cringe when I am at a networking event and someone hands me their business card the moment we are introduced. It makes no sense because if we haven’t even had a conversation, I have no idea what you do – sure, it says mortgage broker on your card, but I have at least a dozen mortgage brokers in my network, I have no idea why you might be different or a better fit for a referral. I don’t give them my card in return. What I have found in a decade of networking is that less than 5% of the people who either asked for my card or I gave it to actually reach out to connect after and continue the relationship. One of the things I will do within 24 hours of an event (any longer than that and I forgot to) is email or call if there was something they have asked me for help with, or at the very least, connect via a social network such as Linked In.
There are times when you meet exactly the right person at the right time at an event, and you will need their service or they will need yours, but those times are very few and far between. It can take quite some time to build a relationship or to be at a point where you need the product or service that they provide. If we focus on getting to know each other and creating a real connection first, that is a relationship that will grow and continue to serve both people in the future.
When you interact with new people today, focus on asking them questions and connecting. My friend who is a flight attendant mentioned that she greets everyone as they enter the plane and most people keep their head down and ignore her. No eye contact, no hello back. It’s as if she isn’t even there. She said that she is startled when someone replies and says, thank you, how are you? We are all human beings and if we all simply shifted our focus to being of service to others, instead of getting caught up in our ‘stuff’, so many things would change for the better. What will you do today to be of service to others?