People are funny.
You know that.
I was at a “fancy” function recently, and I decided to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people. My wife says I am a “people person” but I am not the type of guy to introduce myself to new folks. I prefer to be introduced or just watch others.
So I was thinking, I’ll just walk up to someone and say, “I see you here all the time, but we have not met. I’m Sid Graef. What’s your name?”
Simple enough. Give me an excuse to say “Hi.” So I’m looking around for someone that looks familiar, and I am still uncomfortable. Maybe one more trip through the food line…
About that time this man walks toward me and sticks out his hand.
“I see you here all the time, but we have not met. My name is Mike, what’s your?”
I almost dropped my wine glass. I had just thought those exact words! And now I hear them spoken to me. Weird. But, it confirmed that I was at least not any more strange than Mike.
So I look around and find the wealthiest, snootiest looking man in the crowd. The kind of person I would not normally speak to at all. And just walk right up and say, “I see you here all the time, but we have not met. My name is Sid Graef, what’s yours?”
He sticks out his hand and shakes it firmly. And I ask questions to keep him talking. I am practicing my “interview” techniques to keep things flowing.
How long have you been a supporter of the theater? Why do you do it?
Are you from Missoula? What is your business or profession? Do you love what you do?
What are the greatest needs you see in our community? And so on.
We talk for about 15 minutes and I realize I have said very little about me (intentional) and I kept him talking the whole time. He knows my name and my company name, and that’s about it.
So the next week I hear from a dear friend of mine, Mary, that my new “friend” John was very impressed with me. He told Mary that he enjoyed meeting me and had such a “great conversation” and that I was very interesting. Again, I hardly spoke three words about myself.
“Sid Graef, Spectrum”….. that’s it. Everything else was my asking him questions and just listening.
Listening. Most folks don’t do much of it. I listened because I didn’t think I had much to say.
But I realized how starved people are for attention. And how seldom we actually have someone’s true attention. Here was this apparently very successful and powerful man, and he was thrilled to talk about himself and have someone listen intently. And he thinks I am interesting because I listened.
People will often do more for attention or recognition than they will for money.
That’s an interesting thought. I will experiment some more and see where this takes us.
Until then, all the best!