Show me a piece of who you are..
Updated: Nov 30, 2020
Create the space to Connect
You can’t schedule time to have “meaningful conversations”. What you can do is make time to be around people that matter to you. Make the time and space and the moment arrives, in the strangest of places, when you find yourself sharing.
The long drive together. Three hours of small talk, slumber and swearing at traffic conditions. Somewhere on that winding road, for 15 minutes you let the mask come off. And there you are in the middle of a traffic jam having a genuine conversation. Showing a piece of who you are.
Make the time to attend a client event. Not because you have a role to play there but because you were invited and you feel you could learn something. Or simply because you want to show the client you care. On the side-lines during a break in the agenda, you have a breakthrough moment. The client tells you what is keeping him up at night. And you have the beginnings of an idea on how you can help solve the problem.
Play a sport: On the tennis court, sweating it out in this summer heat. No time to think, just serve and volley, winning is important but playing is even more important. During a water break or sometimes when you have a post-match cuppa, the conversations catch you by surprise. Advice given and received. I have found words of wisdom that linger on long after the game has concluded. Made many a decision basis an insightful comment exchanged between points. That the whole point. Make time to connect.
The opposite happens too. A packed schedule. Back to back meetings. Hardly a minute to think between the long “to-do” list. And a day or many days rush past. There are ticks in the box but no really strong connections are built. Lots of missed opportunities to linger and dig deeper. To open the box and look inside. That’s where you find the space to have a more meaningful and honest connection.
The missed opportunity has a huge opportunity cost. “I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.” is something I once read that rings true.
This is the price we pay when there is no genuine connection. How many people feel invisible? How many people feel unimportant? How many people feel unappreciated? Simply because we are all running around so caught up in our list of things to do that we forget to do the things we must.
Create the space to converse. Have a genuine conversation. No jargon, no platitudes. Just people talking to people about things that matter to them and the world. And when you are in that privileged space, truly listen when others share. Don’t jump to solve. Don’t judge. Be curious. Be compassionate. That’s when connections get stronger. This is rare. This is precious. Find a way to make the space and the connection will find you.