I think Rick (or was it Rich?) was sitting next to me. I shook hands with him first, then I turned to introduce my wife, but she was shaking hands with someone else, whom I greeted next (still thinking about Rick – or Rich). This cycle repeated itself for the next three people, then the music started and I went to sit – realizing as I was half way down that I had blown off the husband of the last person I “met” so I whirled around to meet him before taking my seat.
Granted, I was a little preoccupied thinking about the flat tire I had to fix after the service (another story), but contrast this with my experience meeting Chris Brogan on Friday. I use the term “meeting” loosely. I talked with him for a few seconds during a book signing. Literally it was a few seconds – twenty tops – yet later that day I got the following message via twitter:
Ridiculous. I never gave Chris my twitter name. He had to dig a little (not a lot, but a little) to find me and take the time to connect. I realize Chris is known for his ability to genuinely connect with people, but I was still impressed.
I believe that I care about people deeply. If that’s true then why can I remember when the Magna Carta was signed, but can’t remember your name after a few seconds. I have a hunch it has to do with focus. Here are a few things I’m going to consciously work on:
1. Orienting on People. I usually approach my day from a task-oriented perspective. I have things I want to accomplish, a to-do list, goals, deadlines, etc. What if I approached my day from a people-oriented perspective. What if as I thought about my day on the way to work, I thought about the people I would be interacting with, the relationships I would be beginning, strengthening, building.
2. Seeing People. What if I saw every human being I encountered for what they really are – a miracle and a mess. A unique and valuable story. A pitiful bag of pettiness and excuses. Someone’s parent or child or friend. Someone’s rival, bully, or enemy. Every one of us is a sack of fears and dreams and doubts and desires and grudges and hopes and hates and loves. What if I took a moment to see that.
3. Being with People. What I if I truly met the people I met. What if I intentionally shifted my attention from my favorite subject (i.e. me) and put it on the person I am with in any given moment. What if I did this so well that I actually forgot about myself entirely – my goals, my agenda, my reputation, my dreams, my fears, my ambitions.
Have you ever been overwhelmed by someone’s sincerity in meeting you? Who was it and how did they do it?
What do you do – or want to do – to connect with people on a deeper level?
photo credit AndyRob