Two weeks ago I introduced you to the words of Jon Moore, “Talk to more people, longer.”
I reached out to Jon as part of my writing preparation and asked him how his own advice was going for him. He said of all days for me to reach out, that was the day when he really let his simple sentence sink in for his own life. He had just been part of an organizational change and is now working with a new group of people. Instead of letting that bother him, he brought himself back to his own advice and reminded himself that all he needs to do is talk to all of the new people, and let them learn about him at the same time.
In an effort to practice what I preach, I posted the following message on a small Facebook group I belong to:
Help a group member out. I’m writing my next series of articles and am exploring this simple sentence: Talk to more people, longer. I’m reaching out to this group to see if one of you would be willing to chat with me for 30 minutes…I am looking to go deep in this conversation. Short on the small talk and deep on the “what’s really going on in your life” talk. If you are up for it, let me know!
Two people quickly took me up on the offer and two more followed shortly after. As of this writing, I’ve had two conversations. Here’s how it went:
In my first conversation, I wanted to try out some new questions to see how they might build a meaningful dialogue. The two that led to the most fun conversation, and also the part where we learned the most about one another, were:
What would I be surprised to learn about you?
It’s 5 years from now and the TODAY Show calls to interview you. What are they interviewing you about?
In both cases, these questions opened us up to a great dialogue, and finding common ground. I learned with my first conversation partner that he was once an aspiring golf professional, and I, as a novice golfer, can relate to the allure of the game and also the challenges of making it in the golfing profession.
In my second conversation, I tried out the questions again, with similar result, but what really dug us deeper, was me asking her to recall a time in the past when she made an unexpected connection with someone and how that experience unfolded. As she shared her experience, one thought rang loud and clear for me: She found someone who allowed her to speak her truth. To be vulnerable. To feel her emotion.
That’s when it hit me. That is the beautiful result of talking to more people, longer. The more people we engage with, the more comfortable we get with speaking our truth. We also get the opportunity to see who is open to our truth.
I would guess that many of us go through the motions of our life avoiding truth telling. Not saying what we are really feeling. There are many reasons for this. A few might be: discomfort with disagreement, fear of alienating someone, or lack of energy in finding another way forward if our truth says the direction we are headed in isn’t the right one.
My desire to “walk the walk” opened my eyes in a big way. When am I not truth telling? What is that costing me? Moreover, how can I be a person who allows others to speak their truth without fear?
Are you a truth teller? Or are you holding back? As a coach, I give time and space to my clients to speak their truth and find a way forward that serves their values. If you want to know how I do this, I would gladly speak with you. If so, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
52 Weeks of Meaningful Connections is offered by Small Town Leadership. If you would like to see how much progress you can make toward making our big world feel like a smaller place, sign up to receive these articles on a weekly basis. PLUS, kickstart your networking efforts with a fun week-long challenge.