A few months ago, my mechanic David and I were working on my 37 Ford hot rod project. It was well past noon, I said, "Come on, we've got to get some lunch!" So, off we went to my favorite restaurant, Sister's Family Restaurant.
As we were eating, I noticed the fellow across from us was wearing an Alliance Fire Protection Services shirt. I asked about his company, where they were located, and what kind of work they do. That inquiry, those few questions, opened a wonderful conversation. As it turns out, they provide the same kinds of fire suppression and restaurant air duct cleaning service our client C&S Fire-Safe Services in Roseburg, OR performs. Believe it or not, Nathan used to live in Roseburg. Six months ago, he and his wife moved to Georgia to be closer to her family. It really is a small world! I mentioned some of the work Turbo Leadership Systems™ has done with C&S Fire-Safe Services and we had an energetic, pleasant visit.
When it was time to for me to pay for our meal, we went up to the checkout counter. The cashier said,
"Your meals are already taken care of."
Confused, I said, "what do you mean?"
"The gentleman you were talking with paid for your lunch."
I could hardly believe it, but it was true.
Fortunately, we had exchanged business cards, so I knew how to reach him. I called and arranged to take him to lunch as a thank you to him a few weeks later.
The lesson I learned from this experience is, if I want to have more friends, I start by being friendly. One of the best ways to be friendly is to show a genuine interest. I learned the importance of taking the initiative, reaching out with inquiring friendly questions to start a conversation. Asking the kinds of questions that are fact-finding and, more importantly, feeling-finding questions. I was reminded, once again, that the best conversationalists are good listeners. The best way to employ The Art of Conversation is to ask questions and LISTEN!
The action I call you to take in social situations, is to take the initiative, be the first person to say, "Hi." Where it's at all possible, without being intrusive, ask those "Six Honest Serving Men" questions whom, what, when, where and why. Look for every way you can find to reach out and connect with the people around you. Be the first person to say hello, to initiate contact. I promise it will be rewarding, even when they don't buy your lunch.
—Larry W. Dennis, Sr. President Turbo Leadership Systems