Susan McPherson | Effortlessly Build a World-Class Network by Using These 5 Tips

In today’s episode, we cover human connection and networking with Susan McPherson. Susan has 25+ years of experience in marketing, public relations, and sustainability communications, and is the author of The Lost Art of Connecting: The Gather, Ask, Do Method for Building Meaningful Relationships.

As we emerge from lockdown, connecting and reconnecting can feel difficult, so what can you do to set yourself apart, forge lasting connections with those you meet, and reconnect with friends you haven’t spoken to in years?

What to Listen For

  • How lonely and disconnected are we according to science – 3:05 
  • Why does negativity spread more on the internet than positivity?
  • What is the Gather, Ask, Do method and how can you use it to form stronger connections with the people around you?
  • The critical objective of today’s youth in a digital age – 14:38
  • What is the power of reciprocity and how can it help you grow an amazing network?
  • What questions can you ask if you genuinely want to help the people around you?
  • What questions should you avoid at all cost if you sincerely want to help people?
  • Tips for introverts to connect better – 28:24 
  • What is pre-connecting and how can you use it to make networking easier and less stressful while also being more effective as an introvert?
  • What should you focus on when meeting people at networking events and what should you NOT focus on?
  • What tips can you use to reconnect with people after the pandemic/lockdown?
  • The big myths around connecting with others – 44:40
  • What simple tips can you use to amplify your effectiveness when meeting people and creating unforgettable first impressions?
  • What are the best five follow up tips when networking to make sure your hard work doesn’t go to waste?

Connecting with others is one of the key ways to get ahead. With the tips and strategies in this episode, you’ll create deep connections and your connections will multiply exponentially. Even as an introvert, you can forge lasting relationships and reconnect with old friends you haven’t spoken to in years. Take these lessons from our experts on how to become a force of nature who gets things done effortlessly while creating lifelong bonds along the way!  

A Word From Our Sponsors

Share your vulnerabilities, victories, and questions in our 13,000-member private Facebook group at theartofcharm.com/challenge. This is a unique opportunity where everyone — both men and women — celebrate your accountability on the way to becoming the best version of yourself. Register today here!

Resources from this Episode

Speaker 1: Welcome back to the art of charm podcast. A show designed to help you communicate with power and become unstoppable on your path from hidden genius to influential leader. We know you have

Speaker 2: What it takes three to your full potential and each and every week we share with you interviews and strategies to help you transform your life by helping you unlock your X-Factor. Whether you're in sales, project management, engineering of medicine, building client relationships, or looking for love, we've got what you need. You shouldn't have to settle for anything less than extraordinary.

Speaker 1: I'm a J and I'm Johnny. Thank you everyone for tuning in let's kick off today's show today. We have Susan MacPherson here with us. Susan is a founder, CEO and serial connector. Her new book, the lost art of connecting came out earlier this year and reached us because it came highly recommended by our previous guest Adam Grant. The book is focused on building meaningful connections and relationships. By going back to the basics, we're going to talk with Susan about forging lasting relationships and how we need to learn to be more intentional and authentic in order to reconnect with people as humans. Welcome to the show, Susan. Now we have to start with the title of your book, the lost art of connecting. Why is it the lost art

Speaker 3: Book proposal was done four years before the pandemic. And what I had seen and felt was that we had lost the humanity when we were connecting with each other, but it became all about the technology, all about the clicks and likes and followers, rather than that intentionality that rather than meeting people and building long-term relationships. The time that I learned from my parents back in the late sixties, early seventies, and of course, February, 2020, when I started to write the book, I was going along my Merry way. And then of course, in March of 2020, all we had were the clicks and likes and followers. So in some ways I kind of had to go start all over in terms of the intentionality, but I will tell you back maybe seven years ago, a friend of mine told me a story that stuck with me. She said, when she would take her old and 12 year old to the bus stop in the morning, and she would hug them goodbye and send them on their Merry way. They would get up on the bus, sit in their respective seats. And as soon as they sat down, their heads would bop down to look at their handheld devices. And every other child on the school glass was doing the exact same thing. Now, AGA Johnny, I can tell you, I don't have amazing memories of my school bus, right? I mean, like, I don't know about you, but I will tell you that I wasn't. I was talking to my classmates.

Speaker 1: It's amazing how much we live on our devices these days. And I know the book is full of research to show that. Was there any research that you, that was really shocking about how lonely and disconnected we are currently?

Speaker 3: Well, I mean, there's so much, but I would say one of the most telling things that I learned was the fact that if we make a life filled with meaningful connections, both personally and professionally, we're going to live longer, we're going to be healthier.

Speaker 2: Well, that's certainly one we've been seeing a lot of research on and we've even had some guests on to talk about that. The other thing with technology that you mentioned is with the clicks of likes and shares, putting out great content is one way to get likes and shares, but being rude, having snapback hot takes and just being outrageous gets you more shares than likes than great content. And because of that, it changes our frame and how we deal with other people. Because in the real world, if you did these things, you would get punched, you would be excluded. You would not find connection. However, but online, this is getting you notoriety. It's getting you followers. It is getting you power. And, and I have noticed this and I've told AIJ this we've come to the same conclusion, which is we're going down this road with all this technology. It's, it's all experimental for everybody. We don't know what the long lasting effects are going to be. I would say that we're starting to see the effects on our society is happening all around us. But you mentioned about bus memories. Like I don't want to get the end of my life because of all this technology that I've found to help me with work only to realize that I wish I would have spent more time being present with others, enjoying my life and reaching for goals and building things.

Speaker 3: No, I couldn't agree more. And the thing is also something to be conscious of the next 15 years, the platforms are going to change anyways. So if we are basing our success on numbers, now they're only going to change in another few years. So, I mean, it is in some ways a futile effort. Um, and you just made me think, I, I was actually the beginning of 2020 in Antarctica, and I'll never forget that everyone on the boat, all we did was take pictures and it was like, stop. Just think of what you're going to, you know, there's whales and penguins and you're missing it because you have this ginormous camera in between you and the animal. But anyhow, wouldn't you just said, Johnny just made me think of that

Speaker 2: Concerts all the time. And I see people watching the concert through their phone in the 4th of July just happened. I live in Vegas and I haven't caught myself filming some of it. Cause I wanted to send what I was seeing to somebody who's like Jay, enjoy the

Speaker 3: Well, and I do also think, I mean, I am not anti-technology and I am certainly a user of various social media platforms, both personally and professionally, but I don't consider that connecting. Okay. There there's a means to an end. And I will tell you, I have been to three weddings of people that I met on Twitter. But to me, the goal is if it's someone who's meaningful to me to get it offline. Um, now of course, the last year and a half, that has been very, very, very, very difficult. And my hope is if we can get this country vaccinated, we might be able to get back to normalcy. I like to call what we're in right now is like a normal normalcy. Well,

Speaker 1: I think another part of technology is it creates this artificial filter between us and the real world. So whether it's changing the way you look changing the background, it's becoming more and more virtual, which of course creates a mask between us and our real identity. And then of course, showing others that real identity and being vulnerable and being honest and open with them. And what we really loved about the book was really breaking down. What are the steps it takes to get back to connecting. And I'd love if you could just unpack for our audience, the gather ask, do method because it is so powerful. And it's certainly in line with what we teach here at the art of charm

Speaker 3: 11. And I just love the name, the art of charm, whoever came up with that kudos. Well, interestingly enough, when you write a business book, you have to come up with a methodology and I did some deep soul searching because I have a massive, tremendous community over the years. And I founded my current company and the only company ever found it at age 48, I'm now 56. And over the last eight years, 95% of the business has been inbound. So what that has told me is the connections that I have built since my early twenties actually have come back to help. And it wasn't like I had a crystal ball all the way back then. In fact, it wasn't even part of the dream or hope. But what I realized is, as I was doing the soul searching is I actually did have a methodology.

Speaker 3: And that is what the gatherer asks do is, and that's the components of the book. But I will say that the underlying theme, but beneath gather asked you, is this notion of leading with how can I be of help to others? And this does not mean not taking the oxygen mask first, but in other words, it means leading with help, help we'll come back, come back to you. So in the gather phase, the first and most important component is to do some self-reflection and connect with yourself and really do a sense of deep dive in what are your hopes and dreams over the next four years, four months, even four weeks. And who are you going to want to connect with or with that is going to help you meet those goals. And then in addition that you can be helpful to notice it's that reciprocity.

Speaker 3: Also during that time in the gather phase, what are your secret sauces? What are your super powers that you can bring to the fold? And lastly, what are you going to do to ensure that you break that hermetic hermetically sealed bubble? In other words, how do you ensure you're doing everything in your power to meet people who don't look like you sound like you're the same age as you are the same color race, et cetera. So that is the gather phase. And I would go so far to say, we are in a very good kind of reset moment in this world where we might be able to use this methodology. The next is the ask phase. And the ask phase is learning to ask the meaningful questions of others so that we can learn about their hopes and dreams and think about how we can be helpful. And if you listen carefully, which we are woefully bad at doing myself included, we can get to the do phase, which honestly is to me the most fun. And that's when you take all that data that you listened to, and then you become responsive, reliable, trustworthy, and follow up. Um, the, you know, what S H I T that you're going to do to be that person stop

Speaker 2: Tired of inconsistent results. Are you dating who you want to be dating? Are you where you want to be in your career? Do you have the proper roadmap to get to where you want

Speaker 1: To go? If you're tired of wasting time and tired of seeing other people effortlessly build their dream lives while you work twice as hard with fewer results to show for it, perhaps it's time to get the guidance, skills and accountability that you need to reach that next level. And our

Speaker 2: X-Factor accelerator you'll develop the tools to communicate powerfully, cultivate, unstoppable systems of mindsets, and be held accountable by a community of high value members, mentors, and coaches.

Speaker 1: Now, this is no ordinary community or group. Each member has been hand selected and vetted to make sure your experience is a prosperous one. That's right.

Speaker 2: Ha our members are driven, knowledgeable and dedicated to advancing their lives and the lives of our community. They are CEOs, professionals, entrepreneurs, and service men. So come join the fun.

Speaker 1: If implementing these concepts from the show has enhanced your life, then imagine what a year long mentorship in the X factor accelerator could do for you, unlock your unique X factor and become extraordinary apply today at unlock your X-Factor dot com. That's unlock your X-Factor dot com.

Speaker 4: I know

Speaker 1: When we're starting out and especially those who are younger in their career, that first phase can feel really daunting. And a lot of excuses creep in. I don't know the right people. I don't know anyone. I don't have a network. How do I get started? We hear these excuses time and time again. And I love how you talk about that secret sauce, because we all have that secret sauce. We may not have had really time to be introspective and take a look at what is the knowledge we have to offer. What are the relationships that we have to offer? And also how can we be that shoulder to cry on or that person to celebrate others with emotional support. Those are things that we can do in less than five minutes to help support the people around us. But many of us are caught in this excuse of if I just know the right person, if I just had the right opportunity, I could do it. So if you're hearing these excuses from our audience members, what is your antidote to get them started? So they could really accelerate the process.

Speaker 3: Well, first of all, I'm going to tell every single listener that you all have super powers and secret sauces, and they're going to change from year to year, even, maybe from month to month. And you know, if you can't figure it out yourself, ask your friends, ask your loved ones, ask your partner, ask your dog. Okay. But literally there, there are things you could be a fabulous cook. You could know a foreign language. You could be great at jump rope. Um, you know, when, when a young person comes to me and I, I shouldn't say they shouldn't use those qualifiers, but somebody is just out of college. This is a generalization, but I have found that they are better equipped with some new technologies that I might be okay, again, generalization. So I often say two words, Tik TOK, which I have yet to figure out, but being a communications ahead of a communications firm, I need to figure it out.

Speaker 3: So I think what we need to do is, is get rid of the naysayers in our brain, which believe me, I have many of them and really just think about it and, and also be, um, you know, don't be afraid to ask others. You know, it was, um, back in 2007, I went away with eight, um, friends. And we went up to the Catskills, which is a couple of hours north of New York city. And our goal that weekend was to be able to articulate our superpowers, our elevator speech. And it was that weekend that I finally got the guts to say, I'm Susan McPherson. I'm a serial connector. Well, after I said it, I almost peed my pants. Cause it's sad. It's so ridiculous. But I had eight dear friends saying to me, yes you are. And what, 16 years later, I wrote a book on it. So what I think for the advice for people who are struggling is, you know, just start making lists and also know that it doesn't have to be, you're a rocket scientist. Although that seems to be the flavor of the day right now, doesn't it? Absolutely.

Speaker 2: I think for young people, it's also important to, regardless of how they feel about themselves or what they have going on to set up some sort of mission. And it doesn't even need to be a major one. That's going to take the rest of their lives to get to just something small, to get, to get them focused on themselves, where they are and what they're going to have to accomplish to, to end that mission. And that's going to give them some great insight about who they are, how they learn and what the, and some small inklings of what they're actually capable of. When we see young folks today, I mean, they have all the technology, they have to consume all the information that they need. So to put that, put the phone down and decide, here's what I'm going to learn. Here's what I'm going to do.

Speaker 2: And taking those steps to it. And I've, I've, I mentor a lot of young men. And one of the things that I hear, that the reason, the time and place where they have decided to get mentorship or to, to start a mission is when they realize that they're spending time with technology, developing a character or an avatar that is on line so that they get perks in a virtual world and some, and all of a sudden, they're like, wait a minute. I'm putting hours of effort into be rewarded in a virtual world. What happens if I just decide to spin that and start developing myself in the world world and what are those parts? And those perks are going to be the building blocks of who you are, your abilities, the super powers that you've mentioned, how you're able to help other people.

Speaker 1: Another thing I'd love to share in all of this is, you know, I'm almost 40. And my network when I was in my early twenties was small, but it's grown exponentially because once you make a connection, then everyone in that person's network is one degree away from you. So even if you're starting out now and you feel like, Hey, I really only have a couple friends from college. You know, I had that one professor I really clicked with that's okay. Because investing in those relationships, as we see led to you, 18 years later, writing a book, like all of these things take time and a little bit of patience, but the exponential growth and the payoff from the reciprocity that giving people five minutes of your time favors and support provides, has worked incredibly well in our career trajectory. I never would've thought of it in my twenties.

Speaker 3: No. And I think, I think like Johnny, you were just saying, I mean, doing that little bit of research before you reach out to people, whether they're people, you know, or people you don't know, they have all the tools they need to do that. I mean, when I was coming of age professionally, I had the yellow pages and the encyclopedia Britannica. Okay. You can now find someone's complete career trajectory. You can find out what they're upset about. Um, you know, on Twitter, you can find out if they have grandchildren on Instagram. So if you're reaching out cold, you have a way to find out about them so that you can offer some sort of help. And again, it doesn't have to be know, writing them a check for a million dollars or, you know, solving their marital issues. Okay. But I mean, it, it just do a little bit of research and I, I think, um, agent what you said, I found fascinating in some of the research that people we, we meet or people have affected our lives, who we have never met because of the people we have met. Does that make sense? But then there, I mean, I, it's one of those things, like if you think too much about it, you go crystal Lew over.

Speaker 1: We, we talked about that exact thing and the influence of friends, of friends and the impact they have on our life, our views, our beliefs, our character, and surrounding yourself with the right people. It takes a little bit of effort at the start. But the payoff, as we talked about is so tremendous. And you bring this up in the book, the reciprocity, the power of the invite. I mean, these are all things that we talk a lot about here on the show, because it doesn't take much for you. It may seem like if I'm starting at zero, I'm going to have to master something. I'm going to have to be the best tech talker in the world. That's not the case having five minutes of your time to help set up your professors, Tik TOK. So he's producing content to grow. His audience could pay off in his career.

Speaker 1: And in turn lead to him, looking for opportunities to give you a favor, to make an introduction, to open a door for you. And that's the thing we all have these strengths, we just, maybe haven't spent enough time really cultivating or thinking about it introspectively. And what we love absolutely love is what you covered in the book. This idea of hosting people and bringing people together instead of waiting for your invite. And that's another common excuse we hear, you know, oh, the weekend comes around. I don't have anyone reaching out to me. Well, why don't you reach out and plan? Because once you start inviting people, even if they don't show up, they still feel an urge through reciprocity to invite you to the next thing that's happening in their life. And I've had tons of connections made when that person didn't show up to my event. They didn't

Speaker 5: Come to my party, but they still ended

Speaker 1: Up remembering me and inviting me to something going on in their life.

Speaker 3: Well, there was a study that I showcased, um, a researcher in Utah decided to just send 600 Christmas cards to people. He had no idea who they were and he started getting back Christmas cards. And even for like 15 years, you would get Christmas cards from those people, but we had never met, but it was that act. So I think what you just described is exactly that, but in, in like real life, and

Speaker 1: We're all yearning for that connection. And if you are the one who takes a little bit, uh, impetus a little bit and put yourself out there, you're going to be amazed at what comes back in return. And it may not come back exactly the way that you did it, meaning you might not get a favor instantly. And they might not specifically what you're looking for, but over time, the long trajectory of our lives and careers, and you're going to see all of these doors open from these small favors that you provide others, the value you give those around you. Now you brought up something else that I know a lot in our audience are struggling with as well. And that's listening. You know, many of us have a never-ending to do list a calendar of meetings, things we've got to do at home things we've got to do at work. And of course, this little device in our pocket that we've been talking about to distract us, what did your research show around listening and becoming a great conversationalist and what tools can we bring to really foster and cultivate better listening skills?

Speaker 3: Well, we're horrible at listening and the pandemic has made it even worse because as you mentioned, you know, notorious, uh, distractions includes including the phone, um, you know, children at our feet, pets at our feet, you know, whatever is, is, has been, but even before the pandemic. Um, and again, I am not singling myself out as being an exceptional listener, but what I have learned is by not listening, you can't get from the ask to the do, uh, and you actually miss, like, what if somebody told you they were giving you a million dollars, but you weren't listening. You would miss that and being facetious. But, um, I spent some time interviewing, um, a gentleman named Dr. Julian treasure, who is one of the world's foremost experts in listening. In fact, he's done four or five Ted talks just on listening. So I would suggest that your listeners listen to his Ted talks.

Speaker 3: However, a couple of tips that he gave me one is to stop our anticipatory listening. And I am guilty of this, but when I'm listening to people I'm already so excited to get to the do. I'm already thinking about how I'm going to respond rather than just listening. The second thing is, is this is natural when we are listening to people, our minds wander. So, you know, while you're talking, I could be thinking about the Thai food I'm going to have for dinner tonight or the dishes in my sink. Um, but it is totally acceptable. One to be taking notes, especially if you're in a, you know, a conversation on a, on a business or even at an event. Um, you know, I sometimes use my phone, but of course I say, I'm not looking at my email. I'm actually taking notes. But the other thing that I've learned is it's totally acceptable to say, you know what? I wasn't for a second, I zoned out, do you mind? AIJ repeating yourself because that in itself is a very wonderful gift. We can give to one another, because first of all, it shows a bit of vulnerability, but it also is respectful, right? You caught yourself and you really want to hear that person. And, you know, 99% of the time, they won't be upset that they have to repeat themselves. They'll be happy because they want to make sure they're heard. So those will be two quick tips that I would, I would suggest

Speaker 2: I want to add to that as well. In the book, when you talk about the ask, you brought up to straight up asking people how can help you. And I, and this is, this is important. And, and I want to make this note. I know so many folks who feel that they are very obliging. They w I'm a high value person. I'll give you the shirt off my back, but yet I'm not making progress in my connections, but it's the communication of whether or not it's effective. For instance, rather than asking, how may I help you? Or what are you working on? What can we do, right. I hear, well, Hey, if you ever need anything, let me know. And that is ineffective communication. That is not going to get you to the dude that is not going to get other people to open up about what they have going on.

Speaker 2: Yet. I hear that all the time from so called, uh, P uh, high value people who are like, whoa, that's. I said, let me know if you need anything, but that's, as, as I said, it's not direct. It's not opening things up to let me help you on your mission. What can we do? Let's, let's move this forward. And, uh, for a lot of the work that we do, and when I'm talking about networking and everyone usually says, when I ask, where do you have issues with that are like, well, I make the connection, but nothing ever seems to happen from it. Well, is that on other people or is that you being ineffective? And that communication changes everything. As soon as they hear that, they're like, and I ask, how is asking? How can I help you compare to, well, if you need anything, let me know, think about how different

Speaker 1: Both of those are.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Great, great points. And I think that's where it's doing a little bit of underlining lion research. When you are meeting with somebody or going to an event, you know, we live in a gifted world that either, if it's an online event or a, you know, a cocktail party, you can inevitably find out a good amount of the people who are going to be in the room. So you can be doing a little bit of research before. Um, but I think the more specific you can get the better, I mean, I love the way Bernie brown, instead of asking people how they are, she will say in three words, tell me how you're feeling today. And that way you're not going to get the obligatory in. Fine. Good. Well doing okay. Right. You're going to get people to be thoughtful as they respond,

Speaker 1: And it's going to open up so many other pathways in conversation because we're actually getting beyond the fake fictitious, small talk and the monotony that we all try to avoid when networking another really important point that Johnny makes is many of us don't feel comfortable asking for help, even if we need it. So to say, Hey, let me know when you need something, odds are that. Person's not going to think of you. And they're certainly not going to feel comfortable asking for help. But if you're there in that moment and you ask, how can I help you? Not only does it put them on the spot, but it helps them actually request for the help that they need, because naturally we don't ask for help from those around us. We take on our own struggles, we try to move forward. So it's really powerful reframe in those situations, again, to, to help solidify the asks. You can start doing, doing amazing things with all these great people that you're meeting. Both

Speaker 2: Of those with the question that you mentioned about that Bernay brown would ask and, and how can I help you both fall under pattern interrupts, where you have to actually stop and think about an answer and what was just asked of you. Whereas the asking of, of saying, Hey, well, let me know if I can, if you need anything that, that falls into the bucket of automatic responses that do not demand you to snap out of it. Yeah.

Speaker 3: I equate it to the weather talk when, you know, I mean, we all get on the call and then it's like, nobody wants to open up. So we just talk about the weather. Now I will say living in climate change, it makes it a little bit different, but it's funny. I lived in Denmark in college in 1985 with a Danish family. And I'll never forget my Danish father saying to me, you went and I can't, I can't mimic his accent, but he would say, you Americans, you just want to fill the silence. And all you do is talk about nothing like the weather and this was 85. Okay. Think of all the conference calls I have been on. And then of course, this past year and a half, zoom it 99% of the time when you get on a call and you're waiting for the host, guess what? So what's the weather like in Cleveland? And I'm like immediately Copenhagen. Like I just go right there.

Speaker 1: The book also had some really great tips for introverts, which a lot of our audience self identify as, and I really love this concept of pre connecting. Many of us will go to large events, not knowing anyone feeling overwhelmed and feeling like everyone else knows someone, and it's going to be even more difficult. And you were talking earlier about all the tools we have at our disposal to find out a little bit of information about the people who might be attending many conferences, we'll post a list of attendees. And I love this idea of actually reaching out to some attendees that have similar interests or passions before the event and having a little cup of coffee or a quick breakfast or lunch so that you actually start fostering some connections before you hit that large event with all of the overwhelm. And I know many in our audience now are starting to go to events again, as people are vaccinated and things are reopening. Are there any other tips you have for those introverts who are starting to get a little nervous and feel some social anxiety as we're going back into large events? Of

Speaker 3: Course. Well, first of all, give yourself some grades. Okay. We've just been through living hell. Um, and some people have suffered enormous losses. So, you know, don't push yourself if you're not ready. Okay. That's number one. And every single person experienced this pandemic in a different light. So I think, right. I mean, I think we all have to take that in too. If you are introverted a couple of tips and I have to tell you in my next life, I'm going to be introverted. Like I fantasize about being an introvert. I don't even know how to be an introvert, but that doesn't mean there are times I don't want to hide in the bathroom. Okay. So there's a difference, but I will say with the pre-planning you can scaffold your event. In other words, you can, you could plan and whom you, you are going to meet.

Speaker 3: And this is also that time where thinking about in advance, what, what you have to offer. Um, and in the book, I actually, even one chapter have 10 canned questions that you can have in your back pocket for when you're terrified. But I will say, go with the notion I call it the Trump triumph, right? Which is almost like the power of three goal with the goal of meeting three people, sharing three things and learning three things. And then you can go hide in the bathroom. But in other words, that's doable, feasible, manageable. Um, and you know, again, what do I know I'm not an introvert, but to me that seems like a way to kind of like, oh, I can do this. And remember if you're asking the questions, guess what? You can sit back and listen, you don't have to be the one doing the blah, blah, blah, which again, for someone who may be shy or introverted, and those two are separate, can be a very comfortable place to be.

Speaker 1: Absolutely. And as someone who's introverted, it's exactly what I try to do is, is small chunk. It I've hung out at large events with extroverts who have endless amounts of energy to talk to anyone and run the room. I know that's not me. And my goal going in is one great conversation because that great conversation leads to that person, introducing you to everyone that they know. And then it creates a ripple effect, which is a lot easier to manage than memorizing everyone's name, getting everyone to laugh, being the life of the party. If you don't feel that you have that in you,

Speaker 2: That intentionality is going to give you more rewards going to that networking event, then being able to just talk everybody, but not remember anything that you've mentioned, or you just been an autopilot. And it's also not to say that introverts want to hide in the bathroom. They just, it's an overwhelming stimulus. There's a lot going on. It takes a lot for them to, to manage that and they need to recharge, but it's not that they're ineffective or they're terrified to be there. It's just, they just can't deal with lots of stimuli. And that intentionality is great. The three by three by three is, it's so easy to remember and it gives you ample things to focus on and, and, and get from that.

Speaker 1: Uh, one thing that has definitely come out of the pandemic, and I was just talking about this yesterday in our X-Factor accelerator, a lot of our clients are top performers. They put their head down during the pandemic, they threw themselves into work. They obviously we're not going out and socializing as much as they would like. So they really focused on their career. And now that we're coming out the other side, they feel like they've lost connection with people in their lives. And they're nervous around reconnecting as in, well, I haven't spoke to this person in six months a year. How do I do that? How do I go about reconnecting with people in my life? That for various reasons, I just wasn't as connected to, as I was in the past, what are your strategies or tips as someone who is a super connector for maintaining these great relationships that we have in our life?

Speaker 3: Well, there's two things. One in terms of reconnecting and we have the perfect excuse. We've just been through this ridiculous horror show. Let's ring it for all it's worth and reach out to people. And you know, what use the darn pandemic, right? I mean, why not obviously, you know, I, I am, uh, I believe in being direct and I think it is totally fair to say, to reach out to someone perhaps you haven't spoken to in 10 years and say, I dropped the ball. I want to reconnect. I want you back in my life. And yes, it's scary because you risk them either not responding or saying no, but you're no worse off. Right? So, so one, I I'm a big believer in being direct. I also think, you know, this is also that reset moment where let's think about who do we want in our lives.

Speaker 3: And also how are we going to try to get more diversity and inclusion in our lives, right? Because we know we're going to learn more, we're going to be better professionally. Um, we're going to learn more about ourselves. So, you know, that, that, that, that doing that little bit, and I know I keep harboring on this, but doing a little bit of self reflection first and thinking about why you do want to reconnect now in terms of staying connected. Um, I have been on occasion called the human CRM, which I don't know is a compliment or an insult. But what I do is I literally, you know, when you get the brain cloud, somebody, you know, Johnny pops in my brain and what do we typically do? We'll get to it later, right? Like just like the dishes, but you know what I reach out right.

Speaker 3: That very second. And if I can't, I voice memo myself or I jot down I'm, uh, I'm I still very much carry around a little notepad. I know that sounds like I'm a dinosaur, but that works for me. So to me, when people pop in my brain, I act upon it. And sometimes there's no agenda other than I'm sending some lab, or I want to know how you're doing no rush, no, no. Don't feel the pressure to come back to me. Or during the pandemic, it would be like, Hey, don't forget about me because I live alone. I don't have family, I don't have kids. So it was my SOS. So I, you know, and that way I have kept connected with people. And I've done this over the years

Speaker 1: And what I've found and what we've found, certainly in, in hosting super connectors on the podcast is much of this. Maintaining a network is small habits. It's not waiting until the end of the month. It's not hours and hours of work. It's setting aside a few moments every day to collect your thoughts and habitually, reach out to people. And that just thinking of you, it's such a powerful message. It sounds contrite, but actually people love to know that you're thinking about them and it gets them thinking about you and gets them opening up about what they might actually be going through or what they're really excited and happy about.

Speaker 3: Well, and people often say to me, how do you have time? And I say, well, I have time to brush my teeth.

Speaker 1: Yeah. I would put Nate network maintenance on the same level as dental hygiene. They all have time for both. And we should be maintaining this network of awesome people that we've met along the way.

Speaker 2: I think it's also important too, to realize the technology that we're using. It's just an, it's an intermediate step. It is it's, but it's not creating real life memories with people that you're going to remember back on. Now, you may have shared some labs on a meme, but is, is that an adventure? Is that a hike? Is that dinner together? Is that some drinks, is that going on for a walk together where there's actual bonding going on and the intermediate tech, um, communication is certainly distorting our views and, uh, how our relationships are. And I'm curious. I mean, I think we're all watching to see at the end of our lives with this technology that it fill the void. Do we still want to reach out and hold some of the people that we care most about regardless of how many messages or means we shared back and forth and had some labs that's going to be quite interesting. And, and the, the, the data that's coming out now is certainly showing that well, it's better than not being able to see somebody for months, years at a time, but it, is it seriously filling that void? That doesn't seem right.

Speaker 3: I mean, the research I conducted, you know, when you need to have a meaningful conversation or a difficult conversation, the absolute best place to do that is in person, which of course we have not, you know, in many cases been able to do for, um, a good chunk of the last year and a half. So, um, I agree a hundred percent, um, where I can't imagine how ho how much worse it would have felt without this kind of video that we now. Yeah. Can you imagine? Um, but you know, I, I agree with you. It is, it is the in-person human experiences that are the holy grail.

Speaker 1: Many of us now are excited for those opportunities. Again. So as you're listening to this with a little bit of planning, a little bit of taking action, you can set up those experiences that reconnect, that build new connections with people and get them out of the zoom doldrums that we're all in right now. What I'd love to hear, obviously, in putting together the book you interviewed and researched a lot about it, was there a piece of advice that really stood out for you and writing this book from all the amazing people that you spoke to around connecting? So

Speaker 3: I alluded to one bit of the advice, and that was from a philanthropist leadership coach, former broadcast journalist, who both in the book talked about, but has also helped me personally, is be more direct and be very upfront about how you want to have a relationship with somebody and go so far as say, I would like to get to know you better so that we can have a closer relationship, which, you know, I think probably up until my mid forties was like the most terrifying thing to say to somebody, right? I mean, for all the reasons. And I felt that that was, was really, really, um, you know, vital, uh, words of advice, especially in a book about connecting, right? Because, you know, beating around the Bush is not going to help anything. And it also gives the person choice, right? And, and that way, if it's not what that person wants, that person can move off. And again, you're no worse for the wear other than, yeah, your feelings might get hurt, but at least, you know, where you're staying for

Speaker 2: All of us, we're going to need people to come to our side in order for us to reach our dreams, to do our missions, to accomplish the things we want to, we're going to need that help. And it's never been so easy to reach out and find people that are willing to do that with this technology. I mean, let's not just cast it aside as, as evil and just a simple anecdote to that. Um, for myself, I love traveling. And for the last few years before the pandemic, I had traveled Europe, uh, by myself and for all the countries that I went to, what I had done was, uh, and I'm a, I'm a rock and roll fan have been playing music my entire life. So what I did was for all the cities that I was visiting, I went online and found rock and roll bands that were local to those cities.

Speaker 2: And then I wrote them saying, Hey, I found your band. You guys are rad. Um, I just so happens that I'm going to be in your town since you guys are so cool and, and play music that I love. What should I check out while I'm in your town? And this led to me having, uh, people take me out to dinner to show me around to new friends, that I still talk to this day and barely any. And for some of these folks, the English, I mean, the, our communication was, was quite bad, but had the spirit of rock and roll connecting as we really needed to talk, except let's go to the record store, let's get at a tattoo party. Let's go to the show this evening. And it was wonderful. And it was it wasn't me asking them to do anything other than, Hey, I love what you guys are doing. I've found you guys on the internet. I want to experience your town and your rock and roll life. Where should I go? And they put the rest of the things together.

Speaker 3: What you did was you found the commonality and the commonality, right. Which is, which is such a gift to them. And to you. I love that.

Speaker 2: So in the book you have this great acronym and we talk about, um, validating and identifying emotional bids and, and listening to people. And I love this acronym. It's R a S a and as goes along with receiving, well, I'm going to let you put this together for our audience because

Speaker 3: I'm forgetting what it was. Oh my God. Perhaps

Speaker 2: I can help you. It's receive appreciate summarize. Yes.

Speaker 3: And I didn't come up with that. That was one of the many people I interviewed for the book, but it is definitely what you were doing when you were traveling in Europe. And, you know, I just have to say, I had a party a few years ago for, um, an author named Javier Rosati who runs a company called fathom travel away it's drama company. And she had a new book out on how to not be a tourist. And so I had 45 people or so on my roof deck. And I always have everybody go around and do some sort of introduction or icebreaker. But at this one, I had everybody say the place they wanted to go next. And I took notes. And in my followup, the next day, what I did was I wrote down what, you know, who wanted to go to Alaska. We wanted to go to Brazil. And what happened, what transpired after that were all these connections. Because the person who had been to Alaska was able to respond and be like, Hey, well, here's what you need to do. So dah, dah, dah. So I totally love what you just shared.

Speaker 1: I think it's, it's so important that we understand when people are given an opportunity to be an expert, to share what they love to share with. They're good at it actually makes them feel good. So you're robbing people of that opportunity. If you're not asking those questions, if you're not receiving, when they're sharing all these things that they have to offer. And as we talked about earlier, a large part of this is just being a little bit more intentional. So it is overwhelming meeting. A lot of people connection itself can be daunting, but with the right mindset, a little bit of intentionality and putting yourself in the right position, a lot of these things will fall into place. What I'd love to dispel or some myths or misconceptions. We've talked about a few, uh, already around things that we think or feel might not work. But if you actually ask them, are you actually say them open up new doors to conversations where there any myths or misconceptions that you really felt we need to dispel when it comes to connecting?

Speaker 3: That's a, that's a really difficult question. I mean, there are zillions and zillions of misnomers that people feel that they have to have, you know, be amazing conversationalists. They have to be attractive, like all the things. And again, I sound like I'm beating it like a drum, but you know, doing a little bit of research before you go, or before you're going to have a conversation with them and letting that person know that you see them and hear them, and then being a good follow upper, if that, if I can go so far is going to give you the it's going to get, it's going to build the connection. Also, I think there's this misnomer that when we lead with, how can we be helpful to others? It's a big lift. It doesn't have to be, it can be a restaurant recommendation. It can be a swimming pool recommendation. It can be an introduction to someone else. It can be, you know, just sharing the fact that you care. Like, I mean, again, these are, these are things that we sometimes talk ourselves out of as opposed to talk ourselves into.

Speaker 2: Uh, we've always, um, when we talked about the value that you're able to give, um, and I believe this was in your book as well, but Adam Grant had brought up the, the five-minute favor, which is it's, it's, it's, it's worded very well. And it just makes you feel at ease about what you have to do to help somebody. And I think a lot of people get very worried that they're going to get taken advantage of it. And for myself, it's like, when I hear that, if you're worried about being taken advantage of, then you're in the wrong frame of mind to be able to give somebody value. And you're not looking at it in the proper perspective that that allows you to feel good about it. Yep.

Speaker 3: Perfectly well said. I also think, you know, learning how to ask is also something that a lot of us are afraid of. And granted, my book has gathered, asked you, and there is within the app tips and tricks on how to be a better asker, um, not just to ask the meaningful questions, but ask for things that we need, want and deserve. And as a woman, notoriously women are bad at doing that. But what I have learned, and what I shared was this notion of, you know, small little asks along the way. So you want to get the other person interested, um, almost has a vested interest in what is going on with you. Um, and also I'm a big believer in always giving people choices and options, because you're much, much, much less likely to be ghosted. If you give people say three options of ways, they can be helpful to you, right? I mean, it is it's human nature, right? If you ask hi, can you give me $10,000? They're just going to go see you because they're not going to be able to. But if you say $10,000 introduction to three people who may be able to give me $10,000 or sharing on social media, that I need $10,000, that way the chances of them responding. And it's a ridiculous example, but you know what I'm saying?

Speaker 2: This is, this is exactly why the importance of the work that you and our company does for, for a lot of people. When they first hear about these concepts, about connecting with folks, hosting things, putting yourself out there, their first thought was, I don't see what is so difficult about that. But then now that we've dove in and we're talking about nuance and things that you can do to elicit a better response, that wouldn't be on the on anyone's mind. Because if you're going to put yourself for people who have reached, who have dreams, who have a mission that they want to accomplish, they need these skills because it makes it easier for them. Because anytime that you're reaching and you start to feel like you're spinning your wheels, it's not there. There's no one else's fault to blame in those situations except your own. And it's usually because of the communication gap that is being ineffective, that is not allowing you to get what you need at this point.

Speaker 1: I want to point out that with that example there, specificity tied to it. And that's so key because when we asked large open-ended questions, we put the other person in a situation where they don't have the brainpower, the willingness, if they don't know us at all to sort through and try to figure out what exactly it is that you're asking for. So for example, I'd love to meet a book publisher. Well, that's pretty broad. What type of book in fiction, nonfiction, autobiography business, self-help, it is way too broad for someone that doesn't know you, but being very specific it's counter-intuitive, but actually more likely to help you reach success. And that was a tip that I got from this fantastic networker that I met about 10 years ago, Stephen Meade. And I was surprised at what that did to change my communication when I was asking.

Speaker 1: But also in other people asking up questions, I would ask them to be more specific what type of publisher, so that I actually could get to a place of helping them, instead of just saying, oh, I don't know anyone can help you. And many of us, I want to talk about this last point. Cause you, you brought this up a good or great follow upper. Many of us think connection is just walking to a room, have a great conversation, and then magically the other person's going to be in our life and things are going to be great. That's actually not how it works. The follow-up is key. It's actually crucial. Especially if you think about large events where people are meeting lots of other people, if you're not following up your sacrificing, all of your effort and energy and just showing up and having great conversations. So as we end this, what are your favorite followup tips to become more effective at actually staying top of mind and ensuring that we get to a place of connecting with the great conversations that we're having. First

Speaker 3: Of all, do it as soon as you humanly can. Okay. I mean, I, you know, again, whether we're in an online meeting, you know, you can do it before you get to the next meeting. If it's possible, if you're at an event the second you get home, um, because we again know what happens when we put things off, that's not always possible, but that is number one. Number two, take notes. When you meet someone or take notes right after. And sometimes I go so far as to take a photo of them, not, not to share obviously on, on social media, but just so that I can remember. And then I make a little note, um, with, with that. And again, I, I sound like I'm this person I'm not, but it's just, if I want to have a meaningful follow-up, I need to remember who the person is.

Speaker 3: Okay. And I, you know, dating a hundred years. So my memory quite isn't quite what it used to be. But the thing is, is mentioned something that you talked about, remind the person that you saw them, that you heard them, that you listened to them. And when you mentioned something that they talked about or a challenge that they face that is, that is something that like sets the breadcrumbs in motion. Um, and of course, if you said you were going to do something, like introduce them to somebody, or, you know, you mentioned a nonprofit that you thought they might have interest in supporting follow up with that. Okay. And you don't have to, it doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be 14 pages long. Um, and it can be last, oh, I have one more. I'd like to ask people how they like to receive, is it via email? Is it via text? Is it via WhatsApp? Is it a DM? And I mean, the menu is lengthy. So to me, sometimes that is a very respectful thing to ask. And again, if you want to continue the reciprocity, you want to meet people where they are.

Speaker 2: It was certainly an answer that we, we needed. I think the follow-up is probably one of the most difficult for people because they they're, they have too many questions about how they're going to do it. And by asking, how do you want, how do you want to receive? This is incredibly important. We all have our favorite technologies, our favorite platforms on our favorite ways of community communication. And in fact, I can't even keep up with them all at this point,

Speaker 1: Specificity. I love it because again, the more concrete and clear we can be, not only in our communication, but in the other communication that's coming in our direction, the more helpful we can be. And naturally the connections that will fall out of that. We love asking every guest what their X factor is. What makes you extraordinary? What is your secret sauce? Now?

Speaker 3: I think you guys know the answers. I'm a serial. I will even go so far and you're going to laugh, but I know Kevin bacon, we don't need six steps,

Speaker 5: You know, cut through five of them yet.

Speaker 3: I am a hundred percent serious.

Speaker 1: Thank you so much for joining us, Susan. It was an absolute blast. Thoroughly enjoyed the book. Where can our listeners find out more about all the incredible work that you do?

Speaker 3: Thank you. Thank you. Well, first of all, the two of you are just remark the dynamic duo. I love you both. You can find me on the interwebs at Susan [inaudible] anywhere. Um, my book, the lost art of connecting is the lost art of connecting.com and can be found at bookstores anywhere and everywhere. Of course, online. And my company is MacPherson strategies. We are a social impact communications firm, and obviously Nick P strategies is the website. So, um, I encourage people to connect and, and reach out. And I am a huge believer in, in constructive feedback. So I'd love to know what I can be doing better.

Speaker 1: Love it. Thank you so much for joining [inaudible]

Speaker 4: Johnny. You're

Speaker 1: Talking about the lost art of connecting on this show for years now. And it was so great to have Susan stop by to share her insights as a serial connector. Absolutely.

Speaker 2: It's always fun to meet people who understand the work that we're doing and to be able to talk to them and see how they can help and how we can help them with their mission. And Susan was

Speaker 1: Wonderful. This week, shout out, goes to our X-Factor accelerator member, Spencer. He writes AIJ and Johnny, I had a client compliment me on my interpersonal skills yesterday afternoon, and it was really rewarding to hear it wouldn't have happened without your help. And I'm so grateful to be a part of the art of charm. I hope you guys are having an epic week, best regards Spencer. And we'll be seeing

Speaker 2: Spencer this week because he's coming to our mastermind here in Vegas with all the rest of the X-Factor members.

Speaker 1: That's right. If you want to join in on the fun, you know where to go head on over to unlock your X-Factor dot com to apply today before we go, could you do us a huge favor, pause this podcast and rate it in apple podcasts. It would mean the world to us, and it allows incredible guests to come find our show. Now, before we go, we want you to have an epic week. I'm a Jay and I'm Johnny crush. It

Speaker 4: [inaudible] [inaudible].

Check in with AJ and Johnny!

AJ Harbinger - author of 1173 posts on The Art of Charm

AJ Harbinger is one of the world’s top relationship development experts. His company, The Art of Charm, is a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality. Raised by a single father, AJ felt a strong desire to learn about relationships and the elements that make them successful. However, this interest went largely untapped for many years. Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. It was at this time that he began to feel immense pressure from the cancer lab he worked in and began to explore other outlets for expression. It was at this point that The Art of Charm Podcast was born.

Email · Google+ · Facebook


in Art of Business, Deal Making & Negotiations, Life Hacks, Making Friends, Networking, Podcast, Productivity

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.