I was at a recent event, and a group of us were chatting, laughing, and sharing good stories. The mood suddenly changed when another person walked into the room. Each of the other people in the group knew him, and though everyone was outwardly friendly, the level of cheer certainly dropped.
As he approached the group, he did the usual: He poked fun at the other people “I knew we’d find Dan near the appetizers… I figured Tina would already have a drink in her hand.” Everyone laughed off the comments, but it seemed that this guy only had one play – to get laughs at the expense of others.
As he left, the mood changed back to a jovial spirit. It reminds me of something my late mother used to say
“Everyone brightens a room. Some when they enter, and others when they leave.”
Especially around the holidays, you may find yourself at gatherings. Just a tip, most of these suggestions work best when you engage in a conversation with a human being instead of engaging via text or SMS.
What can you do to ensure that you brighten the room when you enter, not when you leave?
- Don’t complain: The first thing many people will say is they will describe their horrible commute, complain about how busy they are, or comment about the unhealthy food. Here’s a newsflash: Nobody cares! Everyone is in the same situation. Put on a happy face, and find the positive… no matter how hard you have to look;
- Ask about them: Instead of talking about your upcoming vacation, party, or purchase, ask others what they might be looking forward to for the year-end or new year? Go beyond the first answer. If they say “We’re going to Hilton Head,” you can ask “Have you been there before?”
- Remember what you learned: A great way to follow-up in the new year is to ask about the things they shared with you at the party. Feel free to use something like Evernote or your favorite CRM to write down some choice pieces of data to ask about in the future.
- If you encounter an opportunity: PLEASE… If you happen to find someone who would be a great prospect, schedule a time to follow-up so as to not talk business at a social gathering. If they have an URGENT matter (like you are a criminal defense attorney and their son just got arrested), that’s OK. But, the fact that their lease is up in 15 months and you sell commercial real estate is NOT the definition of urgent.
I know these may seem obvious, but obvious seems to be a pretty rare thing these days. When you are at a holiday celebration, take note of people who violate these common rules… and please be sure to share your observations with me via email.