Planting Seeds of Value: 3 Questions to Powerful Connections

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The last couple of weeks have been quite a learning experience, by speaking to so many people and observing, listening and asking inquisitively, I have seen the power of solid connections. Connections and the ethereal way people connect whether superficially, by networking or by falling in love all stem from the same foundational concept.

Farming by Asking

When I meet someone new I always try to practice this flow of interaction:

Ask: What is your goal? or Where are you going with this?


Ask: How are you going to get there? or How are you going to do that?

Listen some more

Then ask this: How can I help you get there?

It never ceases to amaze me how many people respond so differently to the last question. You want to help me? There’s an adverse chemical reaction that happens within your corpus callosum when you are pleasantly surprised. It immediately charges your endorphins and subsequently causes a positive effect in your mood. You mean you really care about what I just had to say? This catches people off guard . You see, the power in connecting is putting your own interests aside to learn about the other persons interests. You gain the effective advantage of learning about their venture or goal while also being able to see how you can effectively contribute with your own talents. And you don’t look like a know it all by putting your interests out on a silver platter only to find that no one wants to eat your “appetizers.”

Reaping the Fruits of Your Labor

I had the pleasure of speaking with someone the other day that inspired me to share this with all of you. I have always been a proponent of the 3 questions above but something very enlightening came across in this particular conversation.

When speaking to Toby Morning (@Semanticseed), Founder of Semantic Seed and Urban Technology Ventures, he made such a profound statement that had me at WTF. It’s just common sense!

” I have more than I can handle in business because I always share. I give it away as quickly as it comes in and without reproach; the next thing I know, people are pinging me from all corners because they remembered one thing, I shared and didn’t keep it all to myself.”

I didn’t realize how powerful that statement would be until my drive home that day. Think about it. People always say that sharing is caring but I offer a different observation. Sharing is actually exhilarating!  In a way that you get such a rush when you know you are adding value just by speaking.

You never know who you encounter in your daily jaunt in life. Plato enlightens us by saying, “be kind, for everyone is fighting a had battle.” In the same mentality, know this, someone out there is always ready to receive something positive, whether a smile, a helping hand, or a word of encouragement. Even a simple “I believe in you.” You never know how wonderful it is to plant those simple seeds of value.

When you think about the possibility of a seed it has the potential to remain a seed or grow into gargantuan trees. These trees then can turn into a forest that provides shade and food and homes for many different living things. Ideas, encouragement and sharing are as such! They are seeds of value that we plant in conversations, gestures, and by simply being cognizant of what and how we give back.

You don’t always have to donate food or build a home in Botswana to add value or contribute. A simple question when you connect with someone who shows them you are intrigued in their venture and are willing to be supportive in reaching their goal is a seed of value that is so powerful.

The next time you connect with someone I challenge you to ask the 3 questions and listen. You will be surprised at how the conversation opens up new opportunities and possibilities for collaboration, ideation and innovation. When you make conversations centric about how to help someone reach  their goal and shift away from auto-pilot by speaking about yourself, you will be remembered and you will spark that powerful connection.

So go to your next mixer, meeting or event and try to ask. Chances are, they will be caught off guard and you will disarm their rhino skin exterior. Plant seeds of value and powerful connections will automatically spark.


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