A colleague posted on Facebook: “Meeting with an important donor. They wear crazy socks so I wear crazy socks…and then we compare crazy socks. This was not in my major gift training course.”

But maybe it should have been taught.

Everyone appreciates being recognized and known. The crazy socks illustrate that the gift officer acknowledges them as an individual, not just another “cookie-cutter” donor. While it costs nothing to do, I’ll bet that it pays major dividends in the relationship.

Pay attention to the small cues that people give you about what is important to them. What kind of candy is always on their desk? Do they suggest a certain restaurant or prefer a special dessert? Do they have a dog near and dear to their heart or a child who is their focus? What hobby can be that conversation hook for you?

You should know a personal nugget about every single person with whom you are trying to establish a relationship, whether that be a colleague, client or classmate. Use those tidbits to create connections that will last far longer than your crazy socks will.

Thanks, Meg!

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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