Guess, Don’t Ask
Mixonian Institute (recall “Mixonian” rhymes with “Smithsonian”), you will be pleased to know, has doubled revenues every year since 2015. An unintended consequence of that most delightful trend has been a drastic reduction in my attending networking events.
Yet I know there is no better way to meet new people than to put on party clothes and show up at some bash, a conference or a bird calling class.
I’m now attending fewer events, but experimenting with that alchemy of transforming a stranger into a friend. Here’s specifically what I’ve been doing for some time now.
The results are pure profits. This practice takes ALL THE PRESSURE off my introvert brain, which unaided goes into a hard-frozen state when trying to think of what to say in any conversation.
That’s why introverts make interesting public speakers – they get to plan out what they’re going to say in their presentation and the audience is supposed to listen, no matter what.
I no longer ask people what they do for a living. It’s not a classy question anyway. At a breakfast a couple of weeks ago, I met a man who looked like an academic (speaking as a Recovering Academic.)
Knowing that college professors would rather have two colonoscopies than attend a “bougie” networking event like the one I was enjoying, I said, “Let me guess, you’re an attorney!”
I think he was a tad offended and a bit pleased at the same time. Turns out he works in PR. But we had a lot of fun and if I could remember his name, we would now be best buddies on LinkedIn.
Morale of the story: always ask for their card.
Guess don’t ask works for multiple scenarios.
Let me guess, you’re from Ohio.
Let me guess, you love dogs.
Let me guess, you’re an introvert.
Let me guess, you work in fashion.
Matters not if your guess is boiling hot or ice cold. You’re kicked off a conversation with flair and finesse.
You have proven, as if in a court of law, that you have extraordinary powers of being. You’re not just any CPA/project manager/VP Revenues/wealth advisor. How cool is that?
You can also turn it around and say, “Guess where I’m from?”
Guess what I do?
Have fun and you’re welcome.
(BTW this is just a tiny tad of what I teach in my Tribe Building 101 class.)