Did You Bring Kryptonite To The Meeting?
It is a fact that a great meeting can in many cases change your life. At the end of a great meeting you may walk away with a job, a speaking opportunity, television interview, or a contract bigger than any you’ve had. If you think about it, when you’re meeting with someone who can do that much for you, it’s like getting to meet Superman but taking your meeting with Clark Kent. Clark is going to be affable and mild mannered, but he could very well save your life.
Except if you brought kryptonite to the meeting.
Then Clark can’t do anything for you because you’ve brought something that eliminates most of his powers. I’ve been fortunate in my own life to get to play Clark for some people and to also have a number of people who fall into the category of “super friends”. These people can really make amazing things happen and often do. They make great introductions, give advice that saves people tons of money, and share information that can change the course of someone’s career. I really love helping people as do many of the other connectors I know, but there are some things that can limit any connector’s ability to help. Below are 3 ways someone has brought kryptonite into a meeting with me.
- Jack of all trades – Ambiguity is kryptonite for a connector. I have been in number of meetings where the person across the table couldn’t explain to me what it is that they did and who they served specifically. If you could work with anyone in your business that’s really great for you, but it’s not helpful for me. If you tell me that you specialize in a certain area, then I can keep those types of people in mind, but if I’m supposed to look out for “anyone who (insert problem or need here) I’m not going to be able to do it, because everyone who is a part of my world is a somebody to me. If the person providing the service doesn’t care about what the person does for a living or how to serve that person’s specific needs, then I have trouble trusting in the service. I will also say that this does not mean that you are limiting yourself by saying you work with a specific industry or a specific type of person, it just gives me more of an anchor and makes it easier to explain why you’d add value to someone’s life.
- Thanks, but no thanks - Asking for advice or for help and then refuting everything the other person has to say is another form of kryptonite. I’ve had a number of meetings where someone has specifically asked me for feedback on something that they are working on or they’ve asked me to talk about what has worked for me in my business and half way into my explaining something I get cut off and told why that won’t work for them. I do my best to handle objections as best as I can and I often ask more questions to try and help the other person solve the problem, but if they keep cutting me off at every turn, I eventually just feel like giving up. Advice is very much like Dim Sum. You take the things that you want and you leave the things that you don’t. You’d never stop a cart of food to tell them that you don’t like what’s on the cart, so why try to pick apart the advice that you’re getting? In these scenarios, I am reluctant to make introductions because what if this person also tries to argue with anyone I introduce them to?
- I want it all and I want it now - Sitting down at a meeting and asking for something the second you sit down is another form of kryptonite. I meet a lot of people who are looking for money for their projects or an introduction to someone for their company, but I can’t make any of those things happen without feeling a sense of trust. If I spend most of a meeting being asked for things before the other person has even asked about me, I’m again, reluctant to make any kind of introduction because I know that most of my friends would not enjoy sitting down and being sold to or asked for something. This is especially a problem if you’re known as a connector. I once was at an event and mentioned that I had worked with a particular company and a woman who I had just met at the event piped up and asked for an intro to that company without any explanation of the value she might be able to add. She just said that since I’m a “connector” I should connect her. I’m always happy to help, but I need some context and I’m not a slot machine. These are just a few of things I encounter that limit my ability to help and I know for a fact that many of my friends have similar challenges.
The tricky thing about kryptonite is that it is harmless to everyone except Superman which means most people would carry it into a meeting and have no idea that they are doing something potentially lethal. In one on one meetings many of the people who take them don’t realize that they are blowing the meeting. My hope is that by sharing some of these stories and some of these instances, more people will be aware of when they are carrying kryptonite.
The more we improve on these things, the more super meetings we’ll all have.
And that means more superheroes being able to do what they do best.