I had a boss who once said that it is important to always take time to make a connection; there is a lot of truth to that. People have a strong desire to talk and building a relationship with other people. In a regular day I am surprised how many people it is possible to interact with and never connect. Something is hardwired into us that if we meet lots of people all of the time we need to keep them at arms length. It is very easy to make a list of donor phone calls and never really talk to the donor. Making a connection is really hard to do and some people are unwilling to do it.
Recently I started taking time at the beginning of many of my phone calls and interactions to have a conversation with the other person. It was counterintuitive at first and still is weird for me sometimes. I like to get down to the meat of a conversation and why I’m meeting as quickly as I can. This is especially true when I have a very specific purpose for which to meet. When speaking with someone for the first time or over the phone, this technique of “getting to the meat of the conversation” has worked particularly well.
However, I have found taking time to make a connection to be a technique that has opened up all kinds of new doors of opportunity. Making a personal connection puts people at ease and often makes a new friend. Making a connection can be as simple as starting by asking someone how their day is going. Use small talk to start a larger conversation. Share a few things about yourself and how your day is going and why that is important to you. Balance you approach between social and business and be aware of verbal or visual cues the other person may be giving you as to how much time they have or if they need to go. You don’t want to create a reputation for being someone who never gets off the phone or talks too much. Don’t be afraid to have a conversation about yourself that is seemingly unrelated to work. It is often in a trivial conversation that someone opens up to a deeper more meaningful conversation.
Are you currently making it personal? What questions do you ask to get to know someone better? Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog