Lessons learned at a business event — that apply to all the conversations you get to have.
You know those meetings with facilitated networking?
Where you get to talk to someone you don’t know about your business?
I go to those. Heck. I run a women’s networking group of my own. The whole point of these events is to create connection, community, and support for each other in business.
Last time I failed miserably; instead of making a deep connection, I alienated someone. Nice. Another opportunity to connect kinda sorta blown.
Let me tell you just how badly I failed at making the deep and resonant connection I have in mind each time I plunk down $45 and block off many hours of my time. I want to meet other women in business, connect, build relationships, create collaboration, and offer my services to those who would be a good fit. In order to actually achieve those goals, creating rapport and getting permission to actually talk in a meaningful way are key.
Rapport and permission fail
Picture us, this nice EFT-practitioner and I, perfect strangers, meeting for ten minutes in a room full of other dyads doing the same thing. Highlights of my conversation failure (shortened and paraphrased so I can make my point and so we can all move on):
She: I help people overcome trauma through tapping.
I: Oh yes, I’ve done some of that.
She: It’s so important. Trauma. Old trauma. Lives in amygdala. Until tapped out, we will never transcend the past trauma.
I (and this is where the fail begins and just keeps growing and growing): Oh yeah, I recently noticed that my work is really beginning to change. Instead of working with my clients on the content of their pain and trauma, I work with them instead on noticing their attachment to their thinking and help them see their way to settling into a more easy state of mind, noticing how answers and insights are so much more available when they’re settled down. I have also come to notice how, since I started studying the 3 Principles, that…. (it doesn’t matter what else I said here, as her eyes had already begun to glaze over, which I luckily noticed and trailed off and finally stopped speaking).
She: Yes but trauma. Amygdala. Never escape the repeating pain unless…
I: Oh I see we’re almost out of time. I’m going to go pee.
She: Here take my card, let’s schedule a 1:1 or a sample session. (This is important to notice: I am not the only one in this conversation that wasn’t really present or listening, or committed to building rapport. Did you notice that? Took me a while; in fact I had to have it pointed out to me!)
I walk away noticing how zero connection was made and how I must have come off — maybe like someone who wasn’t listening? Or caring?
What I could have done better, and why it’s so damned important!
I forgot my rule! I forgot to be clear that networking events are about creating connection, deep and authentic. Rapport yo.
So when I was talking to this gal I oh so easily slid into pontificating and (urg I hate admitting this!) showing her up. Really, sister, let me tell you something that’s going to shake the foundations of your mission on this earth, and your work and your business. And let me tell it to you without checking in with you (rapport) or finding out if it’s okay to tell you about this (permission).
Damn the assignment at these events! I know what my assignment really is.
My assignment is to connect, to build rapport. To take a minute to look someone in the eye and find a way to connect. That’s it. Period.
If the connection happens, we can move on. If it does not, I can meet her where she’s at, and at least spare her the unbearable pleasure of hearing my pontificate about something she may or may not want to know a fucking thing about.
Once you have established rapport, you’ve taken the first steps to building that critical know-like-trust that is the point of all the marketing you do (and if know-like-trust isn’t in your vocabulary yet, or if you don’t know what it means then, sister, we should definitely talk!).
You probably feel when permission is present — and when it’s not — as viscerally as I do. There’s a palpable difference between having someone start telling you something and having them check in with you first before they start telling you that thing. If you can’t imagine, then try it. Or spend an hour in a used-car lot pretending you’re looking for a car. (Oy. I just maligned used-car salespeople. I’ll work on that.)
Permission is simple, and literal. Like this (after rapport is established; I’m just gonna keep saying this, to myself as much as to you!): “I have been finding that the 3 Principles understanding has really shaken up everything about how I do my business, get my clients, and run my life. Would you like to know more?”
Rapport and permission — important for your business and important for your life
- Growing your business? Rapport helps you discern if a prospect is in fact a perfect client for you. How will you know until and unless you connect in a deep and meaningful way?
- In life, rapport also helps you know unmistakably if the person you’re talking to is the kind of friend or ally to whom you want to reveal your passions and commitments.
- In business and in life, asking permission helps you pave the way to make your point or make your offer or request.
In our times now, when so many of my friends, clients, and colleagues — and myself! — are being called into activism around racism and white privilege, rapport and permission are key.
When you’re invested in the outcome, it can be hard to relax into the importance of creating rapport and asking for permission.
I teach this shit and look at how badly I stumbled.
- Remember that your purpose is grounded in love.
- Sink into that love and connect, create rapport.
- When you feel the strength of the connection, then ask for permission.
Once that permission is granted, share your offer, your brave and audacious idea, your desire. See what happens. Enjoy the difference. Lather, rinse, repeat.
You too — and I too! — can be authentic connection rockstars.
How does this land, dear one?
Hopefully useful, but I won’t know until you tell me. Let’s talk in the comments.