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How to become a relationship generalist

My former boss once told me I could connect with people like nobody’s business. 

What’s the secret sauce? Well, I am what some people call a relationship “generalist.” I try to find similar interests quickly during conversation and work to establish a “know, like & trust factor.” 

How do I find similar interests quickly? Well, I know a lot of random, general knowledge that allows for those connections to spark. I was the kid who had all the worthless bits of information that made me a whiz at Trivial Pursuit. Such a nerdy thing back then, but I do think it’s helped in my professional years. 

If you’re like me and maybe you went to college, I think I was told a million times by my professors that developing a deep level of expertise will lead to me landing my dream job, having credibility in my field and so much more. I needed to hone in my skills as a public relations and marketing professional and know EVERYTHING about my craft. 

But…here’s what I found to be the truth: 

When you can’t speak about anything else except for your craft…you’re missing out BIG TIME. You’re missing out having a level of understanding about what’s going on in the world around you….and furthermore – you’re missing out on developing rich and meaningful connections with those around you.

PRO TIP: Don’t only pay attention to your industry-related and focused material. Have a wide breadth of information that you consume. I listen to podcasts that cover the gamut from Political Gabfest to Tim Ferriss to Freakanomics and TED Radio Hour…and a host of other material.

I challenge myself to listen to different perspectives. Let me tell ya…cocktail conversations are a lot more robust when you can speak about a variety of newsworthy material. 

So…think about it. What are three topics you’d like to learn more about? How can you broaden your scope of knowledge? I challenge you to find at least one thing you can do this week that’ll help you become more of a generalist.

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