young people habitsIn this article Kate Griffiths unpicks an innocuous phrase that is used by many and shows how it prevents real connection.  She implies this could be one of the main reason you are not getting the level of success you are looking for in business.  So take a moment to pause from the busyness of your day and check in to see if this applies to you. 

Do you tend to ask people what they do when you meet them for the first time?  And when you are asked that question is the answer something you have honed into a 30 second elevator pitch?  Does it have the desired effect – do people go wow and hire you on the spot? I expect the answer depends on how authentic you are.

If you said yes to either or both of those questions then do not worry, you are not alone if you perform this ritual.  I have not done a survey but I expect at least 70% of people do that.  You may not even know why you do it.  It could just be one of those unconscious habits you have adopted.

Ask yourself what are you hoping to receive when you ask that question?  Are you merely asking the question so that the recipient will ask you the same one back and you can “strut your stuff?”  Of course you don’t have to share any of this with me although I am curious to know but do take the time to be honest with yourself.

Here’s my working theory.  Whilst some do ask this question, so as to get the chance to answer it themselves and so are not really interested in what you have to say, that is probably the minority.  For many of you it is probably an unconscious filtering system; a way of finding out whether or not that person can be of use to you in whatever you are trying to achieve.  If you are a connector you may seize on the info as a way of working out who to connect that person with in your own network.

All of this can be very helpful and that’s a great start.  Now ask yourself – can a person really sum up the key elements of who they are in 30 seconds?  No of course they can’t so when we ask people to do that, we are being reductionists.  We are asking them to categorise themselves so that we can put a label on them and then file them into one of a number of boxes.  What those boxes are and how you use them will be unique to you and is not what I am interested in here.

What fascinates me is how effective that way of being is?  And as way of an answer I am going to share a story of something that happened to me at the beginning of the year.  I was engaged in some speed networking, not something I do often and I came across a woman who did just what I have described but to extremes.  She wanted to know what I did so being a little mischievous I gave her lots of seemingly incompatible one word answers and then sat back and watched.  She was struggling to make sense of them and finding it extremely hard to put me any of her readymade categories because like most people I do not neatly fit in one box, I am a complex being with hats for many occasions.

So here’s what I suggest that you do next time you meet someone you don’t know.  Ask them what they love in life.  I can guarantee that their eyes will light up and they will share something much more intimate than the usual I am a facilitator response.  It is also likely that you will discover that you have more in common than you could have ever imagined and your life will be richer for the exchange.

If you want to know more then join us for the inaugural Link4Coffee in Hitchin on Friday 20 JuneQuotidian – a chance to get to know who is in your community so that you link, learn and grow on so many levels.  We need new ways to connect that move away completely from the old paradigm and this is it.  I wrote a whole piece on new paradigm networking a while back so check it out if you want more on this topic.  Otherwise book into Link4Coffee in Hitchin – we already in double figures in less than 24 hours.


Kate Griffiths is a midwife who births new paradigm businesses.  Following a career at PwC and prior to that as a Director within Higher Education,  she now works primarily with conscious business owners and leaders that recognise the old paradigm way of doing things does not work.  She helps them discover what the new ways of doing business look like.  She is passionate about creating conversations that lead to change and has developed her own process to do that called connection through conversation.  You can meet her at the inaugural Hitchin Link4Coffee next Friday, 20 June.

Unconscious habits stop deep connection
Tagged on:                 

8 thoughts on “Unconscious habits stop deep connection

  • June 11, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Kate this is very thought provoking….. I experienced this when in between corporate jobs (actually I had moved to AZ and was learning to make “clay-art” for a short period) I found myself meeting new people and the FIRST words out of their ouths were pretty much this

    So, what to you do?

    Because I wasn’t really DOING a business thingy rather I was being and making ends meet….I would answer “What do you mean DO…like when I get up in the morning…or?…”
    As you said
    “he wanted to know what I did so being a little mischievous I gave her lots of seemingly incompatible one word answers and then sat back and watched.”

    They were stunned at this…you are so right we try to BOX people so we can write them off and move on….genuine connection is rare.
    I like your ideas about it…but in the end when we meet someone and ask HOW ARE YOU…we need to mean it and be ready to engage if they are conscious enough and trust us enough to actually tell us how they are…..

    My usual answer is a true one…Life is highly textured and I am great…..

    • June 12, 2014 at 9:48 am

      Susan I love how you express this “life is highly textured” what a great phrase, I think I will definitely nick that one for use in the future. I guess there is also another layer to this that I haven’t brought out which is value comes from what we are doing whereas the real gold comes through the art of being…

      Actually wouldn’t it be refreshing if people said not much. I love quirkiness because it stops me short and I jump into an awakened state and become more present….

      • June 12, 2014 at 4:57 pm

        Dear Kate….I would be honored if you nick that phrase…I think it fits for you as well. What it points to is something (a deeply held belief) I have been saying from stage and in life for years. I believe we are ALL artists and our greatest canvas is our life…for some their canvas is monochromatic and., to me, unexciting and unexpansive. For some their canvas has many darks and lights, for some it is bold and OUT THERE. My canvas is a highly textured a blend of all of it…this lifetime I came to explore and BE/DO the stuff on my path (burn through some Karma with my eyes wide open)
        So when asked how I am…truthfully I have to say GREAT and my life continues to be what I co-create tons of texture.
        Sending love admiring your commitment to post post post.
        I am not there writing seems to be tied to earning a living…makes me sad at times but it is all part of the canvas I am creating.
        with so much love my lovely friend…

        • June 13, 2014 at 11:22 am

          You will get there with your writing Susan when the time is right. Your words inspire so many and you are a catalyst for us all. Look what you have achieved within Conversation already.

          For me it has been about finding my voice and getting clear on that. It is also a great medium for communicating with my audience and offering nuggets of wisdom for free. Giving great value is a core tenet of what I do. Love your energy so keep on showing up. xxxx

          • June 13, 2014 at 7:15 pm

            Thanks Kate….I think I may build a post around the textured dialog above…are you cool with that?
            When is our next HOA

          • June 14, 2014 at 1:15 am

            Sounds great to me and wd love to do one soon. Cd do eve of 17 Jun.

  • June 14, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    I love your point here, Kate. We do tend to go unconscious to the point of objectifying others and seeing them only in an instrumental way — what can you do for me? It’s symptomatic of so many things — there’s a book to be written about this single moment of not responding, not being with one another. It feels protected and safe, perhaps, but it is depersonalizing. Then, we wonder at the end of the day why we don’t feel more connected.

    And what a great suggestion for an alternative question to ask. Makes me want to think about all the alternatives, and also to gain more facility in the moment asking one that is brand new to both me and the other person.

    Beautifully done, Kate. Thank you!

    • June 14, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      Dan how lovely of you to take the time to comment here on the blog I really appreciate that. Funnily enough you have picked on what really matters to me probably reading the energy and that is connection. I do believe there is a book in this point and at one point toyed with the idea of calling myself the connection coach. It is the jumping off point for me which can end in collaboration and is key to birthing new paradigm ways of doing things.

      If you ever do come up with a list of alternatives I would love to hear them because as you say my suggestion is just a starting point. And yes you are right there could be one for each new interaction as each is unique just like each breath. So glad to have you in my circle Dan and look forward to diving deeper with you….

Comments are closed.