One of my core beliefs is that when I ‘show up’ – great things happen. It may be the unique experience I’m having, a new person I meet, an old friend I reconnect with, information I learn – or something else entirely. But nine times out of ten, simply going out and talking with others leads to something good.
No matter what that good thing is, it usually starts with a quality conversation. This is one reason why we make a big deal out of treating New Tech community members like old friends, rather than like business connections.
A shared conversation about something you care about drives relationships that lead to boundless opportunities. Before being our job title, we wake up each morning as a person who wants to be respected, understood and valued.
At New Tech Improv last week I was reminded of this as we practiced better listening skills to improve interpersonal communications. One of the main takeaways from the experience was how much more we get out of conversations when we are truly listening. The next step is to clarify whether the person who is speaking with us is simply seeking a sounding board, wants help solving their problem or just needs a little empathy. (If you missed the event you can review the slides here).
Many times a week people want to have a conversation with me, but there are only so many available hours in a week. This has made me become more strategic on whether to engage by email, phone, or a face-to-face meeting. (If you’re reaching out it’s always good to be clear about what you’re asking for. That makes it easier to know how to help you out.)
While most queries can be taken care of through email, greater things are bound to happen when I’m face-to-face with someone because the conversations are more organic and we have more opportunities to get to know each other. Some of the best partnerships and community opportunities I’ve experienced started with an in-person meeting or an introduction by a common friend that led to a meeting.
Ironically, most of these conversations were predicated on a topic that evolved into something entirely different. This is how I began creating New Tech (Seattle Tech Meetup) with Red Russak over 3 years ago, creating the Tech Coalition to Help End Homelessness in Seattle, and supporting the Pike Place Public Marketplace expansion project and the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship. We were just a couple of people sitting around talking about what we love about tech and the Pacific Northwest and somewhere in the discussion we found a powerful idea.
More often than not the best things in life and business begin with a quality conversation. So when an opportunity arises to be somewhere or do something that may lead to quality conversations, I encourage you to jump in with both feet and see what worthwhile connections and opportunities await you.
Sure, Skype, FaceTime, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, email and SMS are all functional ways to communicate. But there is nothing that compares to sitting next to someone and discovering that you both appreciate a Saturday afternoon with your dog at Marymoor Park or the free summer film series under the Space Needle. Next thing you know, you’re planning something inspiring and fantastic together that may not have materialized via text.
On another note… New Tech Northwest was featured on King 5 News this week for our on-going work with the Union Gospel Mission helping provide care and comfort for our city’s citizens living on the streets. If you would like to be a part of the solution, please join us by adding your name HERE! A BIG Thank YOU to everyone who has already joined our Search & Rescue rides each month. Your involvement is VERY much appreciated!