Updated: Sep 2, 2019
I was preparing for a big meeting with one of our top executives. During a session with my executive coach (holler out to Carolyn Freyer-Jones), I explained that I wanted to focus on making sure that meeting went as well as possible.
She asked what my goals were for the meeting, and I listed the three things I wanted to discuss.
To be honest, I really thought I was set.
Then, as she often did, my coach asked me just one powerful question. A question that I would take with me into the future:
“Have you thought about making "connection" your primary goal?”
It made me pause. Connection? Connection. Hmmm.
We went on to talk about her definition of connection. It wasn’t a superficial “talk about a sport you both like” kind of connection. We talked about:
Ensuring that I really understood what he most wanted from the meeting.
Making sure he felt comfortable with my leadership in dealing with any challenges we were facing.
Being driven by authentic curiosity about what was most critical for him to know, at that time
Focusing on delivering that information in a way that stimulated his own intellectual curiosity.
People often think it’s just about networking or shooting the shit with people. But finding true connections in every interaction you have is what will really propel you forward.
It was such a simple concept, yet when I thought about that word as I prepared for the meeting, it truly helped focus my energy in a way that made the meeting more successful than I could have imagined.
Connection isn’t just for big meetings.
Setting connection as your primary goal in sales meetings, 1-on-1s with your people, and even with your family and friends is a powerful and inspiring north star that should guide nearly everything you do.
If you struggle to find ways to connect, there is an excellent article at Forbes that outlines 7 pillars for building relationships with just about anyone. The short version: show up authentically and repeatedly, and be ready to help.
Find ways to make authentic connections with people – those above you, below you and sideways. They will then yearn to work with you, support you and promote you.
I’m curious. What is one way that you create authentic connections?