Imagine you’re introduced to someone at a conference, work function, or summer barbecue. Assume you knew this 15-minute conversation was the beginning of a 50-year friendship. How would that change the way you interacted?
Now what if you treated every new person you met like they were going to be a friend for life?
Recently I’ve been working with this perspective in mind: that there simply are no 15-minute relationships. It’s changed my outlook, demeanour and the value I add and receive.
It connects me to what matters to them
If I assume that I’ll know a person for the next 50 years, I go out of my way to connect meaningfully with them. No small talk about the weather, or their home town, but what gets them excited. When I get to know someone at that level, things change. I become their cheerleader and that’s the kind of relationship I want to have with long-term friends.
I open up faster & more honestly
I’ve found this approach helps me share my challenges and the way I really feel about things. I’ve noticed a tendency to connect and continue the conversation in other mediums. Asking for an email and following up, or following them on Twitter just seems natural and the logical next step.
Good friends require good focus
I admit it, I’m horrible for jumping all over the place when I’m talking with someone. It’s the ADHD in me. I’ve never used it as an excuse but it’s certainly a challenge. Assuming that I’ll be close friends with this person for years to come causes me to stay focused, even lean “into” the discussion. It’s quite refreshing and I’m sure the other person feels it.
Yeah, I hug more
There are limits to personal space but I just feel it’s the right thing to do. Why can’t I make new good friends in a 2-day period and hug it out when I head of to the airport? My co-founder Ethan taught me a few years ago that it was ok to hug other guys, since then I go out of my way to greet my friends that way.
Dale Carnegie has a saying that puts all of this into perspective. He says, people don’t remember what you said, only how you made them feel. Using this 50-year outlook on new relationships not only lifts my spirits but it also helps me connect, touch and feel the other person in a way I wouldn’t of thought to in the past.
What perspective do you take when meeting with new clients, people at conferences or introductions made over email?