I am struck by the power of simply being curious and the way in which relationships can deepen when one asks the right questions at the right time. Sincere inquiries demonstrate your real interest in others and can drive important business relationships that matter not just today about 20, 30, and 40 years down the road.
Several years ago, I reconnected with someone I had not seen in thirty plus years. I had journeyed to downtown Salt Lake City to attend a meeting in one of the high-rise buildings there. After finishing my meeting, I was descending in an elevator. It stopped at floor six. I glanced up to see who might be getting on the elevator. Behind the individual, I saw a sign. It read: “Law Offices of Paul James Toscano.” I quickly remembered my friend from years earlier and, in a moment of impulse, jumped off the elevator to see if it was the same individual I had known years previously.
I quietly approached the door to Paul’s office and stood in the doorway waiting for Paul to cast a glance my way. Eventually, he looked over and, after a moment, a look of recognition covered his face. We embraced and began to chat excitedly, the 30 years quickly melting away. At one point in the conversation, Paul was kind enough to congratulate me on “my many successes in the computer industry.” And then he said something that really caught my attention: “David – I always knew you would be successful.” I was stunned for a bit and did not know quite how to reply to such a compliment. After a moment, I fumbled a reply along the lines of “Paul – what ever made you think that?”
His reply was revelatory to me. “David, it was your curiosity that made me know you would be successful in life. You were always the most curious 18 year-old in the dorms. You were interested in everyone and everything they were doing.”
I have always been impressed with the following quote: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Leo Buscaglia.
There are 2 great questions you can ask that will help deepen your business relationships and strengthen your networks. “Can you tell me more about what you do?” and “What is the biggest challenge facing you in your work right now? Ask these questions; then listen to the answers with real intent. People love to talk about themselves. They all have something to offer. Get Curious and build that Network!