I once worked with a guy who loved to make introductions. He genuinely knew how to connect people and to highlight the skills and abilities that were relevant in any given situation. Quite honestly I never knew what he was going to say when he gestured a handshake between me and another person, but it was always worth the wait and usually made me stand 2” taller. He knew how to articulate my best qualities (which of course was flattering to hear) and he did it in a way that sparked curiosity in my new acquaintance. It was an art to watch and fascinating to be a part of this kind of encounter. The initial conversation often began at deeper-level right away simply because the introduction sincerely connected us on a more congruent, meaningful level.
How do you make introductions? How do you make referrals or connections between people you know might enjoy each others’ company or services?
I’m learning to take a page from my friend’s book and really think about what values and interests connect my friends and colleagues. Who doesn’t love hearing their accomplishments or personal values articulated with a sense of awe and delight by someone else? And who wouldn’t be curious to hear more from someone who has an interesting background or novel perspective on life? It jump-starts the conversation immediately!
I invite you to think about what you can do or say to connect people who need or might enjoy a good conversation. By listening for spoken (or implied) requests or desires it gets easy to ask “I have someone in mind who does that, would you like me to introduce you?” And then get creative with how you bring these two personalities together!
As a coach, I have a few people in my life who regularly listen for and make personal referrals to my work. It’s been interesting to experience the various ways people introduce me. I am pretty sure that for a few potential clients, it’s been too intimidating to cold-call a number on a business card or scribbled notepaper (although a few brave souls have dialed through!) More often, I find the mutually beneficial connections happen one-to-one or with a respectful pre-call that gives both the other person and me an option to connect without any obligation or expectation. That kind of introduction feels sincere and genuine.
And so, as I continue to notice and play with introductions, I encourage you to do the same. I’m beginning to consider how I might present others with a little more panache and think about how I could more effectively connect people with unique skills and experiences. It’s a work in progress and I suspect I’ll test and revise my efforts many times over. Brené Brown asserts “Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued”. I think my friend was onto a good thing.