Saturday, August 11, 2012
Listening for Key Dates
Last fall, I was traveling to another city and, as I often do, made a point to connect with a former business associate and friend. We only had a couple of hours together but it was great to see him. In the course of our conversation, I learned that the previous August he had been the recipient of an organ transplant. Not surprisingly, it was a very emotional topic for him, and he is forever grateful for the donation. When I got home, I made a note in my calendar to be sure to recognize the anniversary of his transplant each year.
Tomorrow is the official day, and so not being sure if I'd be able to reach him tomorrow, I called his home (and his cell) this evening. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to catch him in person, but did leave a detailed message letting him know that I was thinking of him as this very special day approaches and that I was sending positive thoughts his way.
I'm certain that my call was a pleasant surprise to him and that he didn't think I'd remember the day. If you listen carefully to what people tell you though, and if you care enough to develop a good method for recording and then remembering special days or events, it's not difficult at all. I enjoy surprising people in this way; however, the bigger enjoyment is in making a deeper personal connection.
It seems to me that we have so many meaningless conversations each day, filled with small talk in an almost automated fashion. I get so tired of these types of conversations, and hate to even participate in them. Instead, I love the chance to connect more deeply and more meaningfully, and then to renew that connection at some future point by relating to something I learned that's unique about the person. For me, these are much more satisfying relationships.