Reaching out beyond our own world is a business skill.
Possessing the confidence and poise to talk to anyone is a capability we all yearn for but when asked, most believe they do not have it. For many, the fear of rejection, of looking “silly” or betraying their inner failings to the outside world is too big a barrier to overcome and they take the alternative option to retreat to indirect approaches: email messages, social media, marketing campaigns….
Quite by accident, on a train journey, I met a man once who I can only say was blessed with a quiet self confidence that was immediately impressive. He asked me about the book I was reading and took time to ask me about myself and, it seemed to me, was actively interested in my plans and aspirations. He gave me a few tips and insights which I wrote down and he made a useful suggestion of someone I should talk to.
Stupidly, I did nothing, until weeks later I found the notes I had written and the details of the suggested contact. I made contact with the person and followed up with an exceptional meeting which saved me many hours of fruitless effort. Whilst packing up to go, I asked this new contact, about our mutual friend. “Yes, I asked him once how he was so well connected”, he said, “and his response to me was Hebrews 13:2 – it was helpful to me and it might be to you, you should look it up”.
Now although I have had a privileged education my knowledge of the Bible was, shall we say, inconsistent. Hebrews 13:2. Getting home that night, I found a battered copy of the Bible and looked up the chapter. It said “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares”.
People often talk about making their own luck through doing the right things.
The lesson I drew from Hebrews 13:2 is that I had to be more welcoming and connected with my fellow man. I realised that only through conservation do we make the connections that can be invaluable to our business careers and the achievement of our aims.
Conversation, uniquely, creates bonds, responsibilities and emotions that prompt action.
Now social media is a wonderful thing, but you can’t look into the eyes of a facebook friend, linked in connection or twitter contact and know whether they want you to be successful, will honour their promises or empathise with your situation.
So what to do?
Practice each day by making a new connection, real ones not social media ones and develop conversations. Who knows? That new relationship may have been entertained by angels unawares.
Top tips on how to develop rapport with strangers
Chris Lorimer is an
experienced consultant who has helped many organisations to grow through his unique 4 Ps approach.