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The Power of Small Interactions

May 30, 2019

I was updating my LinkedIn profile a few days ago, when I noticed a business school classmate had been promoted into a senior executive role at a global investment bank. A few minutes after firing off a quick note of congratulations, a response arrived, mentioning they often travel to my home city, and looking to reconnect the next time they visit. We had probably both spent a total of five minutes on the interaction, yet the connection bridged over five years of not having seen each other.

This experience reminded me of the power of small interactions, lunches, coffees and other moments “just because”, rather than only when you need something. We’ve all experienced someone setting up a meeting, then diving right into a pitch for something they want. How did it make you feel? A bit used? Taken for granted? Were you as receptive to their request?

Instead, consider the example of a client working at a global consulting firm, who was looking to extern at a hot food startup run by one of our other clients. After our initial introduction, our “seeker” set up three calls, sent regular email check-ins, and made a point of asking questions and listening that helped build a bond with the startup’s CEO. She got the externship, and opened doors to numerous other relationships with executives in the food industry that will pay off for years to come. All through interactions that took minutes to organize, not hours.

So the next time you find yourself with five free minutes (and be honest, it happens more often than we all admit), scroll through your social media or email contacts, and drop someone a quick message. You never know where it might lead.