Finally, a great answer to the dismissive attitude that sharing your personal preferences with other people is a waste of time from Kevin Hogan, body language and persuasion expert, author and speaker publishes a weekly newsletter called “Coffee with Kevin Hogan!”
In this week’s video newsletter, Kevin talks about a study on finding out what persuades people to help a relative stranger. I suggest you listen for yourself, but here’s the bottom line that I took away from it:
The more specific, unusual or rare thing you have in common with someone, the more likely they are to help you and think positively of you.
It doesn’t have to be a big thing. In the study, something as little as having a birthday in common was enough to make huge changes in the rate of people willing to help.
How can you apply this to your networking and business relationship building efforts? There is no such thing as meaningless small talk! When you ask questions, you’re learning about their hobbies, background and preferences. Somewhere along the way, you are going to discover something in common. That one maybe little thing is going to move the relationship forward.
Why should you care? As Bob Burg teaches us: All things being equal, people prefer to do business with people they know, like and trust.
Think you don’t have something in common with another person? You never, ever know what connection you might have.
On Tuesday, I presented to a group of professional people who are in job searches. Afterward I started talking to a man name Vernon. He’s new to town, moved here from Austin, Texas and before that, he lived in Atlanta. No way we have something in common, right? Wrong. He’s in Fresno because his wife grew up in a small town in the nearby foothills. The same small town that I grew up in. She went to the elementary school where my dad taught. I guarantee that her younger brothers remember my dad.
Do you think I feel connected to Vernon? You betcha. I hope he feels the same way about me. I look forward to building a professional networking relationship with him … because his wife and I grew up in the same town.
How about that as a case for small talk!