I attended a luncheon this week hosted by the City Club, a Chicago organization. As often the case when you don't buy a full table, I was seated randomly. We all introduced ourselves before the program began.
One of the guests sitting on the other side of the table was the Chicago-based Consul General of the Netherlands, Klass van der Tempel. After we completed going around with our table introductions, I mentioned to the Consul General I had recently taken an online Coursera class, Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory and Practice, taught by a professor at the Universiteit Leiden in the Netherlands. He asked about my professor's name. When I told him, he said they had previously worked together for three years and had stayed friends since.
Connecting points like this one, even a half-world away, sure make it seem like a very small planet! Following the luncheon, the consul general and I stuck around for a few minutes talking about the professor and several other things. Conversations and relationships start much more easily when you find that common link. It transforms an often-awkward exchange into a more relaxed, personal-feeling one.
Finding those connecting points comes naturally to some people. For others they need to train their minds. In a future post, I will share a form, I use with clients to help them raise their consciousness for finding those connecting points.