Today I was standing in line at the post office and recognized the gentleman in front of me. But if you had offered me a million dollars, I couldn’t tell you his name or how I knew him! Totally awful, right? Except after we said hello / how are you, he asked how things were at BNI. Given a context, I knew who he was, what he does and had good questions to ask while we waited for the person in front of us to send 37 (no kidding – 37) packages overseas.
So, what did I learn? At this time of year when you are going to all kinds of events and get togethers, after the initial “hi”, give the other person a context. Ask them a question about the place where you met. Even if they remember you, it will help the conversation and if they don’t, what a giant help you have been! I came back to the office and fired off a quick email to say how nice it was to see him. He’s now much more in my thoughts because he helped me in a situation that could be awkward and I’ll guarantee he didn’t realize he was helping. If you do this on purpose, you can really make a difference for a conversation that might otherwise go nowhere!
How else can you help people out?