Look me in the eye

So I had the chance last week to attend all the festivities in DC tied to the National Prayer Breakfast. Every year this event is put on by Congressional leaders, and high profile leaders from all over the world are invited to attend. I'm always honored to be in the room with many well-known folks. One thing I've noticed about those who have "arrived" in terms of influence, and stature, and credibility, is that they are usually the kind of leader who authentically takes an interest in you when you first meet them. They ask good questions, and are genuinely interested in talking with you and learning more about you. They look you in the eyes. I noticed this with several leaders I met for the first time last week, as well as friends who I got to catch up with and hadn't seen for a while. They didn't gaze around the room looking for someone else to talk to- they truly engaged in conversation with me. Very authentic. Very real. Interested and eye to eye.

Then there's the "posers." John Maxwell categorizes these kind of folks as "climbers." As with any other gathering, party, function, or event, everyone wants to see who else is in the room. Especially those who aren't as "well known." And they are way more interested in climbing than connecting. Talking to you is just simply a step in the right direction to someone else who is way more important.

That really bothers me. And I know I've been guilty of doing this before. And that bothers me even more.

So let's all commit to truly being present in conversations, especially with new folks. Last week, I was reminded of how important it is to focus on who and what is in front of you. Being present. Whatever environment you are in, it's way more important to be a concerned connector rather than a climber.