As part of the Connect with Anyone course that I am currently doing, there are exercises that I have to complete.
Much of what I am learning about on this course is stuff that I already know. But there is a difference between stuff I already know, and stuff that I actually put into action.
Thank you notes
One example of this is the idea of a thank you note. Often when I have had a good meeting with someone, I will email them a thank you note. But it will probably be little more than just a thank you.
The exercise I had about thank you notes was to follow a set template, where the thank you note was more explicit and detailed. I suppose, previously I had always been worried about sounding insincere, despite knowing that people in client services do this sort of thing all the time.
So I chose my victim… sorry, recipient and sent her a thank you about a meeting we recently had. It was detailed and it was sincere. Part of the exercise was a suggestion to meet again. I made this suggestion and she wholeheartedly agreed. The thank you note worked very well.
Like I said, I think I knew all of this, but I was worried about seeming insincere. Having this exercise was like giving me permission to be open and explicit.
Another exercise was about started conversations with complete strangers. Surprisingly, I don’t have any problem with this (or very little problem), and the point in the exercise were points that I already abided by. Specifically, the three second rule. Once you’ve decided to talk to someone, do it within 3 seconds, otherwise you’ll overthink it.
One of the useful points from this exercise was about subjects to talk about. I, unfortunately, often fall back onto the old standard of “what do you do?”. But as this exercise points out, maybe someone’s job is not the thing they want to talk about. It may be the least interesting, to them, thing to talk about. So this exercise gives a mnemonic of things to talk about: FISH – family and friends, interests, strengths and health & fitness.
I tried this with another new connection I had made. I asked him about his interests. And I got back an effusive response, included some interests that intersected with mine. From there we went on to have a lengthy and broad-ranging conversation. It really did work.
As part of the Connect with Anyone course we have a weekly Skype call. At the end of the call this week, I was asked how the group could help me. I had achieved everything I wanted to from the last exercise, so I didn’t know how to answer this. But shortly after the call, it came to me. The group is already helping, because they are keeping my accountable. I am actively doing all the exercises, otherwise I have to report back to them why I can’t. This is something that Live Your Legend says that I need, an accountability buddy. For the next 8 weeks, I have one.