In July, for the first time EVER, I attended my high school reunion. It had been 30 years since I had seen most of these folks, and the contact was limited to Facebook. During my formative high school years, I never really “gelled” with my class, which undoubtedly contributed to my choice to forgo previous reunions. Now, in 2018, thanks to a family vacation in close proximity to the event, as well as plenty of coaxing from my mother and sister, I decided to attend. I was pushing far out of my comfort zone and I.WAS.NERVOUS.
After some thought, I realized that my nervousness could completely derail any enjoyment of the event if I were not careful. I made a conscious and deliberate effort to shift my perspective. Rather than worrying about whether it would be awkward, people would remember me, etc., I decided to set a goal of making every conversation at the event meaningful. I would approach each interaction with a purpose—to learn all about the adult version of the person I knew in 1988 and to make each feel like the most fantastic person in the room….no matter what vibe I received. I would use the same level of engagement, curiosity, kindness and thought that I strive to bring to my coaching and business life.
As we approach opportunities and contacts, we are at our very best if we focus on being interested rather than interesting. Whether it be a sales prospect or a new colleague, we should let our curiosity guide us and seek to understand. In so doing, we facilitate a deeper personal connection, naturally build trust and transfer positive energy to the other party. The higher the stakes, the higher the importance. If we lay the right foundation, we always have the opportunity to follow up and continue the conversation at a later date. If we make the wrong impression? Not so much….
As for my reunion? Not one regret. As it turned out, there was no reason to be nervous.