“Hi Stephanie, I’m Yan. Nice to meet you.”
“Hi Yan. Tell me, what’s the scariest choice you made in the last three years?”
Awkward, right? This is why it’s hard for me to make friends. The light, fluffy, small talk is a challenge for me. I don’t give a crap about the weather. I just want to dive straight into the deep end.
I once (accidentally!) made a new friend cry when I asked why she and her partner had chosen to never have kids. I admired their life of adventure. But, yeah, perhaps our second time hanging out was too soon.
My StrengthsFinder results are high on action and meaning. One of my very lowest strengths (ok, I guess that’s called a weakness) is Woo. I just can’t.
But woo is glue. It’s the stuff that cements connections and, in the business world, makes clients into friends. Or at least friendlies. Who want to work with you again and recommend you to others because you’re a freakin joy to be around.
Woo is how you make people feel special.
And I really do want that, even if I have to consciously strive for it.
So let me tell you about the new woo strategy I’m trying. Sorry for the sharp turn we’re about to make to get there.
My best friend’s father just passed away. He was a veteran with a purple heart. He started a police academy in a part of Michigan that needed standards and training. And even though we only saw each other a few times a year, he’d ask me about details in my life that I was surprised he remembered.
After his death, my best friend’s brother was looking through their father’s iPad. They found out how he did it.
He kept Friendship Folders.
There was one for me. It was called Stephanie Evergreen (Karen’s friend). In my folder, he had notes about my life. Things he’d picked up in the course of our conversations. Like
- Son is Byce. High schooler. Likes video games and science.
- Runs her own business. Travels a lot. Data stuff.
- Lives in Kalamazoo. Downtown. Historic home.
- Married May 2020 to Michael.
Even if six months had gone by, he would roll up at Karen’s birthday party and chat with me about historic home repair or where my travels have taken me while we down cake and ice cream.
He made me feel like he cared about me. He knew how to woo.
It might not be a tuck jump off the high dive into the deep end of life’s mysteries but it was way more meaningful and relevant than the weather.
I’m adopting Friendship Folders.
Especially for my business contacts. I can be so focused on the work that I forget to make human connections. My emails can be like “Contract attached.” LOL.
I know people are dropping little details about their lives because I respond to them in the moment but I forget them the moment we x out of Zoom. I believe I can build better relationships if I create a Friendship Folder as soon as I get off the call.
How do you Woo?
For some people, this comes so naturally they probably haven’t even really thought about how they woo. They just do.
Do you have some strategies that help you make woo glue? Write to me and tell me about them.