The Benefit of Befriending Strangers Near and Far

it's a small small worldDuring the end of last week, I was traveling in Ohio and Pennsylvania.  At one point, I met a gentleman whose brief remark sparked a short conversation about Indiana. 

He was originally from Pennsylvania and recently returned after living in Greenwood, Indiana at a different job for two years.  I grew up just north of Greenwood, Indiana.   

I am always amazed when proven time and time again that old saying, “It’s a small world”.  I apologize now for any reading this that now have the Disney song stuck in their head. That song that also brings images of small marionette children dancing in their head.  I am so sorry.

I love traveling and meeting people and discovering the one connection that bridges the miles, ages, differences and life experiences between us.  It fascinates me.  I also like to hear stories of similar experiences from friends.

Isn’t it odd that we can find or recall a situation where we connect with someone we meet miles and miles away from our home base and it amazes us with the reminder of a small world; however, we fail to realize this same concept or impact when building our business or searching for a job.

Every interaction you have can be a positive or negative, it is your choice.  I will grant you, some make it more difficult to choose positive based on their actions.  However, this is when the choice is in your reaction.  But that is a different blog.

Every interaction allows you to make a connection with someone on some level.  You do not need to travel thousands of miles from your home base, look right next to you.  Look around you in the grocery store, at the baseball game, the walking trail or in line to grab a cup of coffee.  Those connection opportunities are all around you.

One of my favorite things to do is to share stories with my best friend from a day of meeting someone and making that connection.  We have met some very interesting people; some have turned out to be clients, others have referred me business and still others turn out to be just very interesting and great people.

Someone asked me recently how I turn a casual conversation into a connection, into a business relationship.    I told them that it happens because I do not approach it from a business perspective.  I do not look at strangers and think, “I wonder how I can get them to hire me.” 

I look at strangers and say hi.  I make small talk.  I ask them about them or give them a genuine compliment.  I treat them with respect and kindness.  This then turns into a conversation and it goes from there. 

You never know who you are going to meet, how you might be able to bring value to them or them to you.  If you treat everyone new you meet as a prospective job lead source, you will find yourself without any leads.  If you treat everyone new you meet as a potential customer, you will find yourself with a dried up pipeline.

However, if you treat everyone new you meet as an individual, just like you enjoying the beautiful weather, waiting for their coffee or enjoying the game – just like you, just like you would like to be treated; well then you will find yourself with an amazing network of great people who will gladly give you business, leads and even better yet – friendship.


Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer


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