Way way back in 2011, in a galaxy far away, I was at a conference in the incredible Rocky Mountains of Jasper, Alberta, Canada. I was there for two days and had the distinct pleasure of staying at the Jasper Park Lodge; the best accommodations in the area!
Before an evening function, I decided to go for a late afternoon run. Behind the resort was a lake, golf course, and what looked like a running path through the woods. I figured, there were worse places in the world to run, so I would check it out!
Part way through my run, as I was avoiding bears and other wildlife (just kidding), I noticed another man doing the same thing. We crossed paths at some point and I said, “hello”. One thing lead to another and I found out he was from Atlanta, Georgia. I told him I grew up in Winnipeg, Canada. I also found out that he was a hockey fan, a referee and all round sports guy. As fate would have it, Atlanta was about to lose their NHL hockey team (the Thrashers), to Winnipeg (the Jets) and I was getting hockey back in my hometown after a 16 year absence!
You know that awkward moment when you sometimes say hello to somebody, they reply, and an uncomfortable pause insues from there?
Yeah that did not happen this time!
We were totally engaged, and that common love of professional hockey, and the strange occurrence of one team leaving the league, and one joining really bonded us. We have stayed in touch periodically over the last five years, and FINALLY Skyped yesterday. Where would we be without social media to keep us connected?
We’ve promised to speak again in July, stay in touch more frequently, and explore a business collaborations together.
Why did this all happen?
Because I said hello on a run.
And he replied hello.
Then I found out where he lived and what he did for work.
Then I probed some more and found out that he was a hockey fan.
Then we connected the dots to that strange situation where his hometown hockey team was moving to my hometown.
Then we agreed to exchange contact information.
Then we connected on some key social media channels like LinkedIn.
Then life got in the way and we did not correspond for long stretches of time. But we were still connected.
Then I sent him a note to say that my new website was live, and he should pop by and check it out some time.
Then he said great, and suggested that we set up a Skype call to finally speak in person.
And that lead to yesterday.
This does not have to be complicated. You just have to put yourself out there. Always remember this takes practice. I have all the respect in the world for people who are shy and more introverted. That’s ok. I totally get it. I’ve stuttered all of my life. I’m sure that I stumbled on some words when I was speaking with Jim, but I did not care. I’m well past that now.
All I said was hello.
“It’s me. I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet”.
Sorry for some reason I started to write Adele lyrics!
I actually just said hello to him!
Now I have a fantastic connection for life, and a great story to share at speaking events, training sessions and via social media for years to come.
I’m a big proponent that everything happens for a reason, but I’m also a believer that good things happen to those that put themselves out there and are laser focused towards achieving their goals.
I’m always in “networking” mode, and I learned that from my parents who were teachers. They are still well-known in our community, and are always locked and loaded with a friendly smile and a warm “hello” waiting for a stranger or friend.
Say hi to people.
You never know where it might lead.
Here is the link to another of my blog post that hopefully inspires you to start more conversations.
Engaging People Is Not Only A “Work Thing”.
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