In the first of this three-part series, I discussed how Curiosity helped me engage others and build strong relationships. As I mentioned, moving from Montreal to the US got me out of my comfort zone, making me realize I had to focus my curiosity to effectively make connections that would be mutually satisfying and beneficial at work. Once curiosity opened the door genuine Connections followed!
Several years ago, I flew on Jet Blue for the first time. It was a great experience – from the booking to the interaction at the airport, and blue chips you were given on board – it was fun. My curiosity got me to talk to the flight attendant. I asked him if I were interested in doing some work for Jet Blue would he have any ideas or connections for me. He handed me his card and suggested I call his assistant. (Hugh?!,) Low and behold, in that moment I was connected with the CEO and founder David Neeleman, who took a monthly tour as a flight attendant to check out his company!
What I learned from this experience was that I had to initiate conversations – it might feel uncomfortable, even silly – but it was so clear that taking that first powerful step of being the one to initiate connecting had given me a powerful contact.
For my clients who say, “Yes, but I am not as outgoing as you, Karen”, we talk about how they can use their natural curiosity to ask others questions and not feel like they have to sell themselves. They might instead have asked the question of David, ”What is it like to work for Jet Blue? Everyone looks so happy, how did that happen?” Really focus on the other person.
When you are in a more connected relationship with folks you work with, you have faster access to a broader range of information and so do they. And that can have a lot of value for both of you, your team, and the organization over all.
SO, in thinking about who you are connected to consider:
- Who you are expected to know in your job…and beyond that?
- Who do you think you need to know to enjoy your job and be most successful?
From here, come up with a list. If the lists look similar at first, don’t fret! Take the two lists and create a summary list of people that you choose to become better connected with. Look at your list and establish a clear, powerful goal of five or six people you want to build better connections with in 2013. It is that simple!
It is a common statistic in sales that 80% of sales are made between the 6th and 12th (non-pushy!) interaction. This applies in building strong connections, as you have to stay in touch to build a strong working relationship. People relate to those they know and trust.
To put some structure and accountability behind growing these connections I invite you to build what I call a “Personal Brand Connection Campaign”. Making a true connection with a colleague can be easy and involves simple, even intuitive steps: invite them to coffee or to lunch; find common interest in sports, travel or books and talk about that; arrange an informational meeting to get to know more about what they are doing. Or on the professional end, do some research and share that with a colleague working in the same area.
Using these concepts, be conscious of your 6-12 touches. Map them out on your calendar. Yes, actually book time to take these actions for each of these 5-6 people you want to connect with in 2013. Be curious about which part of your campaign works better and identify what really gets you results. Consciously growing these connections takes time. Clients though, often share they are both surprised and delighted that the people they reach out to are receptive, in fact, appreciative that they have taken the time to connect!
Next we’ll dive into how these two points of Curiosity and Connections help you build a juicy Circle of Influence. Yes, juicy!