Filed under: advice, books, Connections, magazines, newspapers, reading, tv, video games
Until about 7th or 8th grade, I was quite addicted to books. And then came the video games and other activities. Fastforward to 2006. On my first day of my study abroad session in Tokyo, my iPod broke. I was left with two choices. First, I could’ve gone to Apple and bought a new iPod. Second, figure out other ways to pass time on my 1.5 hour train trips to school (one way). So I decided to start reading again. And let me tell you how that has changed my life.
Reading is important for a variety of reasons. Firstly, you maintain and develop your vocabulary. By reading challenging material, you learn how to use new words and expand the depth of your vocabulary. Secondly, mental stimulation. Reading, in most cases, forces you to think and use your mind. At the same time, it expands your knowledge of a particular subject to a new level. This brings me to my last point. Reading is important because it expands and broadens your horizons. This is important in making connections with other people, as having a broad knowledge of a variety of subjects helps start topics of conversation.
Take a look into any book/blog/site about connecting with others. Regardless of how good looking you are, what your grades in college were, or where you graduated from, connecting with people is a lot more difficult (if impossible), unless you have something to talk about. Reading is a channel through which you can absorb new information, and keep your database of topics you can discuss or relate to up to date.
So remember, reading is an important aspect in making connections. Set aside some time every night or every week to sit back and just read.
How has reading helped you?
“It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know”
This is a concept that is very important in the life of anybody in the world. We have transformed into a society of people constantly on the move. As Drish has mentioned before “there aren’t enough hours in the day”.
Drake has taken a great step in engraining this concept into the minds of its business students with a course about the basics of business.
Six degrees of separation.
The lines separating graduates from two differently ranked universities have blurred. And all it takes is knowing the right person. One phone call or email puts your foot halfway through the door. The other half is you.
“Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi is a wonderful insight into the skill of building and maintaining strong inter-personal relationships. That’s the consistence of a strong network. It’s your “rolodeck” of people who you would stop at nothing to help, and who would stop at nothing to help you.
One of the things to remember, is that there are people anywhere and everywhere. New connections and networks are created every second. In the airport, at the mall, in a restaurant, the possibilities are endless.
The first step to establishing any kind of connection is finding a common ground or topic as a beginning. The weather is a common beginning, and depending on the situation, the possible topics are infinite. Ask Questions!
After establishing a common topic, it is also critical to introduce oneself, one’s university and major. Also, a strong handshake during the introduction wouldn’t hurt either. I believe this part is critical, because from personal experience, spotlighting one’s position as a college student just opens the possibilities even more. People with experience always seem to want to help college students. If you don’t believe me check out the film “Catch Me If You Can”, where Leo’s character stands in as a high school reporter. People love to share stories of their experiences, and what to do in order to gain your own.
As the conversation draws to a close it is also critical to thank the person for their time and always, and I mean ALWAYS, ask the person whether they have contact information or a business card. And ALWAYS, ALWAYS have a set of business cards with you. Carry around 30 and you’ll never run out. With the exchange of the business cards, part of the relationship is complete. (For business cards: VistaPrint)
The final step in the establishment of a relationship is the follow up. After receiving a person’s business card, be sure to follow up on the event as soon as possible. A quick email thanking the person for their time, referencing something that you talked about is a great idea. It may also be a good idea to propose a meeting in the future, when both of you have some time
My Personal Experience:
Just the other day I was getting the oil in my car changed, and as I sat in the waiting room of the wonderful Jiffy Lube, I couldn’t help but notice a man shake his head at the photo on the front page of the paper. After a recent spell of bad weather, the photo portrayed a towing company digging cars out from the side of the interstate. The man added this was the first time in 25 years he had seen such weather. As he was in his 40’s/50’s, I asked where he moved from and why he moved. I followed up with asking more questions about his experiences, which he was very happy to share with me. As the service on his car finished, I thanked him for the discussion, wished him a safe ride home and exchanged business cards.
Now why is this relevant? Why would I need the information of a person who owns a company that writes consumer vehicle reports for over 150 newspapers? Why would he need to know the information of a college student who likes traveling and photography?
What do you think?