Monday, December 28, 2009

Powerful Connections Are All Around You - Are You Listening?

The world is smaller than you think. No matter where you are, people could open doors and make introductions that might have an impact on your life.

I was attending a holiday party this weekend at the home of a friend and I had an unique encounter. I met a very interesting CEO of a local company over a glass of wine. We had an interesting and engaging conversation that covered business, family, life, etc... At one point we were talking about my new book on public speaking skills (The ABC's of Speaking, January 2010) when our talk found it's power.

He mentioned that he learned about the importance of speaking skills thirty years ago while working in Los Angeles. He shared a story about being 19-years-old and running the video camera while his boss worked with a presentation skills coach. As he explained the details, he casually mentioned the name of the guy who was instructing his boss.

When he said the name I almost fell out of my chair. The person he was talking about had the same name as my childhood next door neighbor. While this neighbor was 20 years my senior (and had moved away by the time I was born), his parents were my honorary grandparents when I was a kid. I had stayed close with his folks throughout my life, until their passing (just a few years ago).... but had not seen their son in 30 years.

It turns out the CEO at the party was still friends with the person we were discussing. They had remained close for three decades.

A few emails bounced around the next morning as the CEO reached out to his friend with an introduction and the "small world" tale. Later in the day I had an hour long phone call with my old neighbor (who still lives in California) where we discussed family, friends, careers and the old neighborhood. He is a great guy with a 40 year career in media, events, and presentation skills training. I could not believe how delightful it was to talk with him about both our parents (my parents were very close friends with his for decades) and about business.

I will be meeting him for lunch the next time I am in California. I even think we can benefit each other in business.... but certainly it was a wonderful personal connection. I hope we can stay in touch and develop a friendship.... as he is an amazing person. I feel that everything happens for a reason, and this contact has purpose.

The interesting part is that the CEO who told me the story could have shared the same message without mentioning the name of my old neighbor. I would have never known the link to this key person was sitting across from me at a party in Austin.

How often do we encounter people who are connected to us in other powerful ways and never know it? I wonder if it is common that we talk with people at parties, networking events, and other gatherings who could link us to amazing people (some who we already know, but had lost touch with)... but we never uncover the connection. Impressive people who will touch your soul are out there waiting to know you, but you have to hear what people say... then make the connection.

This would have been a cute story if I had not asked the CEO to put me in touch with his friend. But I did ask. The next morning he took action (NOTE.... successful folks, like this CEO, always take action... but that is a whole other blog post!!! He did not have to immediate reach out, but he did!). The result was a powerful conversation that connected two people who are both better for the connection.

Have A Great Day.


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