Monday, May 22, 2006

Steve's Steps To Being More People Friendly Step 6

How many people's eyes did you catch last week? Marcie emailed me to told me she met three incredible people simply by engaging them with the step 5 exercise. All three of them approached her to comment what a great smile she had and conversation ensued.

Michael said he tried it and made significant progress with someone he sees at Wendy's every Tuesday at lunch.

Doty said he didn't think he could do it but tried it and discovered it became so easy he lost count on how many people he touched this week. He said he never realized just how unfriendly his lack of engaging eye contact had made him and how much more open the world seemed when he tried conversing without words.

Way go go everyone! You are well on your way to being more people friendly.

Now lets talk about one the most important steps....

STEP SIX: Open Thy Mouth & Practice, Practice, Practice

The making the eye contact is a great warm up for the next step. The next obvious step is to use the power of that initial eye engagement to open your mouth and say something to the person you are encountering. So many of us miss so many opportunities in a given day to say something....anything to the people that cross our path in life. What a mistake! Missed opportunities abound!

So it was two weeks ago and yes...I was at the coffee shop. I was my usual chipper self but not because I planned to have a profitable day of work. No, I had other priorities. I was headed to the lake to go fishing. I was immersed in my own little world and just trying to grab my jolt of java and head out. John, the owner of The Daily Grind, was asking why I was dressed so casually and I proudly proclaimed it was a much needed day off and I was headed to the lake. We chit chatted about fishing and which lake I was headed to as he prepared my large cup of joe. I thought nothing of it at the time and to be honest, did what I tell all of you not to do....I didn't take the time to notice anyone else in the shop that morning. I was too focused on grabbing my cup and heading out. My bad!

As I left, a man who had been parked beside me rolled down his window and said "Excuse me. I overheard you were headed to Decker Lake is that right?"

Looking surprised and a bit taken back, I replied, "Why yes?" The questioning tone of my voice as it trailed off obviously clued the man into justifying quickly why he was asking.

He assured me that he didn't want to jump in my truck and head out to the lake with me. He was part of a bass club in town and fishes the lake very often. He graciously handed me this new bag of artificial worms (Speed Crawlers) and told me exactly where to fishes and where to go to catch. A spot I had never tried before mind you! For the next ten minutes, we chatted back and forth about all things fishing. It was awesome!

Since that day, I have spoken with him two more times as I sat at the coffee shop. His bait worked which was my first connection point into bridging our next conversation. It has been amazing what I have learned from him and I am grateful for meeting him. The point is, during our past several exchanges, I have noticed three different men sort of eavesdropping on our conversations (remember, you see these things when you remain aware and conscious). All vested with interest but obviously fearful of interjecting a comment or directly participating.

After my new friend left each time, I intentionally engaged these gentlemen individually. First I looked at them, caught their eye and smiled. Funny thing happens when this happens, especially if you are male, something has to be said! I make it easy on those that I meet so I am usually the conversation igniter as was the case with these three gentlemen. Mind you this happened three separate times (so I had three separate conversations).

I practiced what I preach here and found three very nice people whom I likely would not have met had it not been for my first fishing buddy. Two of the guys are somewhat inexperienced in the ways of bass fishing as I am. The other, very experienced but new to the area and with no established fishing buddies. In toll, I met four great men and likely found several new fishing buddies and likely much, much more. (One of them owns a pretty fast growing company and has some issues with finding and keeping customers.....MY SPECIALTY!)

So, the moral of this fish tale is you need to talk, talk, talk, and practice, practice, practice. Simple, easy engagement followed by an easy entry to a conversation can open up multiple doors of opportunity. It doesn't always have to be about business!

In my next BLOG post, I will give you some easy "entry" points of conversation. In the mean time, try developing a few of your own and please email me and share with me what you come up with.

Until next time....

Ripple On!!!

Steve Harper

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