Purposeful Communications Can Open Doors Anywhere!
One of the wonderful gifts from the Pandemic that I’ve given myself is taking two walks a day, morning & evening, in my neighborhood. Time to do my thinking, get exercise, and enjoy the quiet of the streets with no cars! On one of these morning walks this past week I became aware that I was greeting people differently that I’d see passing by me. But that was all I realized at that moment. I couldn’t tell you why or even who some of the people were .. I just realized that I responded differently.
So being the communications zealot that I am, I set out the next morning “purposefully.” I was going to pay attention and know the “what & who” behind the different greetings.
What I discovered is not earth shattering news. Basically as humans we have a natural sequence of connectivity within our communications DNA that happens on its own when we let it. I experienced a sequence of … a visual connection that led to eye contact and then facial expression/body language and overall energy/emotion… all contributing to what triggered my individual reactions & style of engagement … primarily all or pieces of a sequence of raising my arm to give a wave followed by a smile and hello or good morning.
However, what did come to my attention was all I had missed by not being purposeful with my previous communications. Sure, I had responded differently as the people approaching me gave me different stimuli from first sighting … but I may, just as well, given them no regard and proceeded with a strong wave and shout out to each one, welcomed or not welcomed, for all that I retained from the interactions. I had no memory of most of the people I had passed and as pointed out, I had no idea why I responded differently!!
When I set out purposefully to see the layers of connectivity and experience the sequence of interacting with each person, I gained so much more. I “saw” each person, I “ingested” the/experience of the engagement (slight or strong), I “remembered” each person and was aware of the strength/weakness of each connection. As someone shared with me several years ago, every interaction is an exchange of energy. This is exactly what I was experiencing.
– WEAK CONNECTIONS,, the sequence of raising the arm, smiling & hello with high energy were not matched and/or not fully shared by both parties for different reasons… BUT there was some connectivity that might be ripe for developing, 1) the elderly gentleman who I see pretty regularly who acknowledged me with a only a nod of his head but a troubled look on his face. I waved but held back on the big smile and hello. Just sent a small encouraging smile and will be sure to keep an eye out for our next encounter. I don’t remember if he always looks this way or not! 2) the runner who gave a sweet but shy hello and smile… I will look forward to adding “have a good day” if I see her again…she looked like she wanted to be friendly but wasn’t sure.
– NEW CONNECTIONS – the young woman running intensely albeit a bit spent but still going, who upon me waving with a smile & gentle hello … broke into a huge grin and hello back. It was exactly what she needed! Hope I see her again.
– PERFECT CONNECTIONS – the gal who upon eye contact did what I did … a smile and a wave with a big hello .. Ahhh. a perfect connection! ( of course, as in business, there are fewer of these!!! )
– NO CONNECTION – the runner who actually did return my wave with a half-hearted wave and absolutely no change in his facial expression. Weak beyond weak acknowledgment. I say, no connection.
– MISSED CONNECTION – Got lost in my thoughts for a bit… lost my purposefulness, and looked up to see a runner turning his head away … I “just” missed eye-contact … he never looked again. Who knows the potential?
And so on … each interaction truly was unique and made my walk that much more interesting while not removing the peace and quiet of the walk. The seeds for building a relationship of some variety were planted. Before there was nothing.
My point? There are 2 that I hope you will grasp. The 1st point is the importance of being purposeful — paying attention, observing, listening, and truly engaging with the people we see daily, in person, online, and in written online messaging. Without being purposeful, what opportunities are we missing out on? What open doors are we passing by? IF every interaction is an exchange of energy, what is the energy behind your interactions. It’s easy to get lazy and assume a no connection or even care “in a given moment” about connecting, BUT what are you missing out on? Even “a very weak connect’ might know a “yes connect” for your business. What would/could happen if you maximized each interaction available to you?
The 2nd point is how being purposeful opens up doors everywhere you go! And makes it much easier to know how to begin a conversation …. simply pay attention to what is happening, what you are both sharing in terms of space, topic of an event you are both at, etc. Look for what you have in common within that moment of meeting and build from there. If we do not take these steps many opportunities will never be known. And doors are everywhere! You don’t need to overstep, be aggressive nor go outside your comfort zone.In fact you definitely should NOT do that. Pay attention at work, of course, but also at the grocery store, in line at take-out, at a neighbor’s front lawn “social distanced” cocktail party, and yes even on the walking and running paths. .. you never know!
A true story from my running days, many years ago (writing this piece brought it to mind) is how a simple hello on my running path led me to a entirely new group of friends. I passed by a group of 5 fellows every morning and we started saying hello to each other, then how are you, then after I had been absent for a while they stopped to inquire about my absence, and that led to them inviting me to my first 10k and many 10ks after that, along with parties with their wives and girlfriends and so on. The major tip: Don’t push the progression. Be purposeful but stay within the rhythm of the development of the relationship. Was there business from this story? One of the fellows got a ton of business from me. He ran a travel agency and I was traveling back and forth to Boston from Los Angeles every 2 weeks at that time for over 6 months … so yes, business came from both parties being purposeful.
Purposefulness can be applied to all the zoom calls going on as well. Be purposeful as you see the others attending and participating on the screen … maybe something they say live or in the chat or via their visible reactions, etc will serve as a great follow-up by you. A way to reach out to open the doors they have to opportunities for you. And of course look for engagement opportunities with the presenter!! All good!
Purposefulness can be applied to our written communications for which it is more important than ever to remember that it is all about who you are writing to.. AND the more you know about them, the more you can apply authentic and sincere purposefulness. ( my next mailing will talk more about this ). In the meantime if you are engaging in writing or live .. stay alert, pay attention and stay within the layers of connectivity .. don’t mess up the flow, but work each layer authentically.
Going forward past this pandemic experience we all need to maximize the opportunities that lie within all our interactions, Purposeful communications can open doors to opportunities anywhere we go!
Here’s to your communications success ….