E-Notes: On Swiveling Your Chair, Magic and Miracles, and Memorable Connections

On Sunday, I finished listening to the audiobook version of The Promises of Giants by John Amaechi OBE. It is so fantastic I ordered the hardcover when I was only halfway through the audiobook. I want to re-read every sentence, dogear all of the pages, and send copies to all of my friends. I have so many thoughts to share with you from this book that by the end of the summer, you’ll be well-versed in John’s advice and wisdom. That is, if you haven’t already joined me and ordered the book yourself. (Do it! You won’t regret it!*) It is certain to be my favorite book of 2022 and I have quite the list of tough competitors still to read.

The Promises of Giants is engaging, smart, wise, and chock full of things I need to start doing, keep doing, and do more often. In today’s tapestry, I’ve woven together four people’s thoughts on connecting with others. Kudos to those of you who already engage in these habits. Good on the rest of us for trying to be better. If this post seems quote heavy it’s because I need to hear the words as much as the rest of you.

*affiliate link

Swiveling Your Chair

“Mindfulness is more than a quirky spiritual trend. It is essentially about an intentional focus and attention to what you are doing while you are doing it….Without mindfulness, it is too easy to be consumed and overwhelmed by the myriad of thoughts and to dos competing for attention in our brains. The danger here is two-fold. First, and most obviously, a cluttered and distracted mind will cause you to miss important nuances and details about people, about events, and about your workplace. But equally, if not more damaging, is the effect it will have on those around you. What does it tell people about themselves when you can’t conduct a conversation with them without glancing at your phone or your computer screen? What does it say when they need you and you can’t be bothered to physically turn away from what you’re doing for even just a moment? It tells them they’re unimportant and an imposition. What they have to say is less important and less interesting than what’s happening, or may happen, in a digital box. It says they are not worth the energy it takes to swivel a chair in their direction.” (transcribed from the audiobook so any grammatical or spacing errors are mine)

John Amaechi OBE, in his amazing book The Promises of Giants

John goes on to share several techniques to give someone your focus which I plan to share in another post. Until then, we can all practice swiveling our chairs fully toward the person, closing our email, and stowing our phone out of sight as we give them our undivided attention.

Magic and Miracles from Delighting the Other

I am years behind on listening to “The Tim Ferriss Show” but Tim deserves credit for introducing me or having a guest who introduced me to almost everyone I now learn from and follow. He definitely is the Kevin Bacon of my mind map. Tim first introduced me to Adam Robinson, investor, co-founder of The Princeton Review, bestie of Warren Buffett, US Chess Federation life master, and mentee of Bobby Fischer, in 2016 and again in 2018.

I actually remember exactly where I was at the moment I listened to this quote and I think about this idea all of the time. Describing to Tim what he had learned in the past year, Adam said,

“that magic is unleashed in the world…only when a circuit is opened when you’re connecting with someone else, and that’s where the magic and the miracles occur.”

Adam Robinson on “The Tim Ferriss Show” episode #219: Lessons from Warren Buffett, Bobby Fischer, and Other Outliers

Adam went on to explain how he focuses all of his energy and enthusiasm on connecting with everyone he encounters. He leans into every interaction and has found that when he is entirely other-focused, attempting to delight the other person, then he gets “magic and miracles.”

A image of a plugged in, white light up sign with a star and the words Magic Time in black, centered on the sign.
Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

“And what it does is it gives you infinite power because you want nothing, and you’re offering everything….So I’m playing a game I can’t lose, and I’m in total control. And I don’t want anything. That’s such a revelation for me, and I wish I’d known that earlier.”

Adam Robinson

Memorable Connections

Speaking of giving so much of yourself to others, this article “How to Become Insanely Well-Connected” by super-connector Chris Fralic is a must read. I’ve pulled out a couple highlights but there’s more gold where this came from, including Fralic’s 7 Rules for Making Memorable Connections and Build Long-Thriving (Not Just Lasting) Relationships — The Do’s and Don’ts. The full article is a treasure trove of tips and is worth a few focused minutes of your time.

Here are three strategies that I loved from Chris’s advice:

  1. Make mini-dossiers on the people you’re about to talk to on a call or meet in person. He recommends the following guiding questions:
    • What are the key milestones in their career?
    • What expertise do they seemingly love to provide? (from any articles that quote them or talks they’ve given in the past)
    • Are there any recent news stories or announcements about them?
    • What do you want to ask them or get out of the interaction if you get the chance?
  2. After a meeting, send along a few short bullets capturing the most important points discussed, along with a list of primary action items and who is responsible for them.
  3. Every appointment on his daily agenda includes a link to a person’s LinkedIn, plus a few sentences on who made the introduction and the purpose of the meeting. On busy days, he’ll list out key questions and takeaways for each meeting.

“After a meeting, I’ll quickly save a one-minute audio note with takeaways and next steps. I then set aside an hour every Friday to go through these notes and write corresponding follow-ups if I haven’t already.”

Chris Fralic

Building on today’s theme, here are some questions to ponder along the same lines of being present, creating magic, and forming memorable connections from Brian Solis, digital anthropologist, futurist, author, speaker, and Global Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce:

What do you do very well or better than anyone else? Build that into an entire ecosystem of how you present you, how you follow up after you’ve delivered something, all of these are opportunities to create magic. What do you want people to feel after they are done with you?

Brian Solis on CreativeLive 30 Days of Genius

May you have a delightful Wednesday! Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to pass these messages along to others who you think would benefit too!

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