There was a time in business when there was your personal life and there was your business life. I think that most people would agree that those lives started to blur together a long time ago. With the advent of Social Networking, the dividing line has completely evaporated for a lot of us. Personally, I think this is a great thing. We’re not talking about stalking here, we’re talking about transparency. This is our opportunity to let people know that we’re not corporate drones and that we have souls and are compassionate. Being a great businessperson, networker, or whatever and caring about people are not mutually exclusive.
We need to remember that we’re not dealing with companies, corporations, institutions and son on – we’re dealing with people. It’s easy to forget that sometimes, especially when you’re in line at the DMV and places like that. We feel like we’ve become part of “the Borg” and that we are being assimilated. Stay conscious and remember that these places are run by people. Just like you.
It’s amazing what can happen when we take the extra minute to connect with people on a personal level. It’s so simple to find fault with people and processes but it takes a more enlightened person to sneak up and catch people doing something right. Look for opportunities to show appreciation with everybody. At a seminar I was once leading I asked the attendees to compliment at least five people during the lunch break. After lunch I brought someone on stage and asked him how he did. He said that the first four went okay, but had a hard time with the fifth. I asked why. He said, “I met this really overweight lady and struggled and struggled as to how to compliment her.” So I asked, “Did you come up with something?” He said, “Yeah. I told her that she didn’t sweat much for a fat lady.” I laughed so hard that I think some pee came out. Not exactly what we were shooting for, but the attempt was there.
The point here is to take the time to make every interaction personal. Find something good about everyone. Take the extra second and ask how someone is doing and really listen. You don’t have to solve all their problems or cure world hunger. Just take a sincere interest in them. Make things personal. All things being equal, people do business with and refer business to people they like, know and trust. True as gravity. Great networking maxim. Especially take the extra second when you feel you are dealing with a bureaucracy. This is your test. Spread the love. Never pass up an opportunity to make it personal.