Surprises present themselves every day – most whiz by so quickly that we miss them entirely.
So, slow that process down a bit.
When someone is in a rush to move to the next point, pause, then ask a question that makes sense and relates to the level at which you know someone. That might be, “How is your aunt Tessie doing?” or “Do you have a family?” …
The better we know someone, the better we can ask questions – but that doesn’t bring all opportunities into view. Start with family, with work, vacations, hopes, and dreams, with a short story to tell – something that adds value to THEM, which delivers something exciting or useful to them. Let the conversation flow, but bring it back to being helpful and interested. Sometimes someone will tell you their life story or their worst nightmare, or nothing at all. Nobody opens up to an uncaring stranger – but any stranger can become a friend with intention and listen empathetically. Try it. You’ll like it. Try it in a meeting, on a cold call, over dinner, or in line at the supermarket.
Strangers are not friends we haven’t met yet, strangers are people we haven’t listened to yet.