My family and friends are likely to laugh out loud when they read this post, for they know only too well how much I enjoy turning a casual conversation into a discovery of 22 (or so) mutual acquaintances. Way out to The Nth Degree. Regularly, this exercise proves more than interesting, but also important. Why? Because most people are pleased when others care enough to learn and remember something personal about them. Odds are that the next time you speak to this new contact that he or she will remember you positively. Also, if you want to accomplish something meaningful with this person, your odds of success will go up.
I’ve found that in meetings with a group of people previously strangers to each other, very few attendees can remember names and basic facts for more than a few minutes past the initial introductions. But those who do remember shine; they reveal a genuine attempt to connect with others. How do you do in these situations?
Just this week, Mary Beth and I met with a person I’ll call “JimBob” in a get-to-know-you meeting. We began as usual with a bit about ourselves – where we grew up, where we went to high school and college, when our business got started, our prior experience, etc. I had done a smattering of homework on ”JimBob”, as had he on us. A friend knew “JimBob” and his family very well. When all of us started down this memory lane, we realized that “JimBob’s” uncle’s father was my headmaster for 12 years. Amazing small world in that ”JimBob”, his uncle and I all live in different cities today. Mary Beth and “JimBob” also realized a coincidental connection. All of these small-world connections allowed us to appreciate each other quickly and opened up the potential for future opportunities. The Nth Degree mattered.
With that background, read this article from The Virginian Pilot to understand just what this kind of connection can mean to others. If you can practice The Nth Degree at work and home, it could prove very useful to you down the road – much more than many people believe to be true.