In just about any social situation that we enter, we look for connections to others. It’s a bit like a game of ‘where do I know you from’, but truly it’s a search for shared context.
Connections make you feel like you belong to the same club and that’s really what we long for, to belong. To make a deeper connection, by seeing if one already exists.
Situations are important
It might just be that you begin the conversation based on the fact that you are both sharing this moment of time and place. Shared moments provide you with enough of a connection to get the ball rolling and eventually you discover other points of connection; another time, another place, another person. This matters.
Ask and Listen
You know what it’s like to be with someone who seems less than generous socially. The person who continues to talk about what they do for work or tells you stories about something exciting they have going on in their life all without ever really asking about you, your interests, or what you have going on.
It’s not that we’re selfish or need to get our words in, but it’s a conversation and we know when it feels unbalanced. It’s good to remember that ourselves.
What we look for, the questions we ask in order to make connections, are simple and you know them.
“Where are you from?”
“How do you know ______?”
“What do you do for work?”
This is a simple example of using a shared moment in time or discovering what else you might share.
Intention Is Everything
The intention in finding these connections, has to be about building a relationship and discovering if you can be helpful to them in some way.
If you’re fishing for the one tie in that will let you spew forth your stories, your sales pitch you quickly become, “that guy” and people will see right through that.
And Your Business?
It’s important to think about how your product or service fits in different situations. Look for tie-ins that make sense.
The key in all of this is finding ways to listen to and learn from your customers, in order to discover if you have a shared context, a person, place or moment in time that connects you and makes building a relationship relevant.
More importantly we have to recognize the situations we find ourselves in as opportunities for discovering what we share. Shared context is the foundation for all of our relationships.
How do you discover what you share with your customers?
Photo Credit Miss Rogue