I had the opportunity to be a part of a social experiment entitled the “100 Connections Project” that just ended today. Writer Matt Hampton set out on July 23, 2018, to have coffee with one hundred people in as many days and see if it was possible to form authentic connections with folks that for the most part, he had never met before. I was his Day 14 connection.
The first time I heard of Matt was through LinkedIn when he announced his project. I thought it was an intriguing idea, yet I wasn’t sure of his angle. Then my good friend and colleague, Thomas Heath, suggested that I meet up with him to see what happens. Could this guy Matt Hampton just be looking for the next 100 suckers for a multi-level sales program? Well, of course not. Thomas would never have referred me to meet with him without some level of trust.
One of the essential areas of development that I teach about when I travel the globe speaking about Talent Retention through Practical Leadership is the formation of trust. I believe that when trust is “given away” during an initial introduction, it creates the first bond of a relationship. That act establishes the foundation of what you will “earn to keep” as this interconnection develops.
“Meeting people is like a mortgage. You don’t pay it off the first month.”
That quote from my coffee with Matt on August 5th is how he led off his blog in writing about our encounter. What I mean is that building relationships with people is like paying your mortgage; you do it with one payment at a time over many years. No one expects to pay it off with the first check. It’s a process.
What I loved about my first meeting with Matt was the informality of gathering. There was no pretense, no overt rushing to get to a point. We met at a local coffee shop and enjoyed a dark-roasted brew and a sweet treat topped off with great conversation. No notebook opened, no pen in hand… Just two guys drinking coffee. Both of us recognized each other, and neither of us needed a “Hello, my name is” label.
During the first few minutes, we talked about our families, our past, military connections, and Charleston. The dialogue easily ebbed and flowed between sharing stories of what made us who we are today. Moments of laughter and serious discussion were intertwined to form one powerful connection.