We have all been in this situation, but not with such high stakes and in public on TV. Perry blew his chances in 2012 because people perceived him as not being ready for prime time. We will see if he learned anything as he is again running for the presidency in 2016. According to many political analysts, it will be hard for Perry to erase the first impression as he became a butt of jokes on the late night comedy shows.
At least we know what Rick Perry lost when he had his oops moment. But do we know what we are losing when we have our oops moment? We go through this every time we are talking to people. We have many opportunities to connect, but we don't because we are not prepared to connect and don't know how this happens. Like many, we leave it to chance and hope it happens naturally. The connection may happen naturally occasionally, but if you know how to do it and are prepared, then you can connect with just about anyone anytime anyplace and in any situation.
Here is an example of what happened when I was not well prepared and missed my chance to connect.
I recently struck up a conversation with a young Asian American woman. After I had found out she works in NYC in the financial industry, I shifted the conversation to the new Goldman Sachs policy of not letting their interns sleep over. The Goldman thread didn't go anywhere. The conversation then shifted toward hedge funds. I mentioned to her that I have a relative that works for a hedge fund company. She was interested in knowing more so I gave her my card and told her I will broker an introduction with my relative, and this thread went nowhere. Then the conversation somehow shifted to why Asian Americans are so successful and why according to Amy Chau's book "The Triple Package."
The "Triple Package" thread aroused her curiosity as she wanted to know more. I tried explaining to her that it had to do with the following:
1) Inferiority complex
2) Superiority complex
3) What's the third one? I can't recall. I told her I will get back to her later. Oops!
It was embarrassing since I brought up the topic, and I could not remember it. I said to myself that I can't let this happen again since I realized that it prevented me from making a connection. Connections don't happen by accidents; connections happen through careful planning.
After that embarrassment of not making a connection, it got me thinking. I should have prepared in advance like it was a habit. What I needed was a "pocket full of speeches" that I could use with confidence.
You need, at the minimum, of three speeches in your pocket when you are meeting people. After you make a contact, you will lose attention if you don't have anything interesting to say. Without a pocket full of speeches at your disposal, you will engage in an empty conversation that will go nowhere and the person will not remember much. Sometimes the other party may not even remember your name. You will have lost an excellent opportunity to make a connection.
The burden is on you when you approach someone or had someone broker an introduction. You better be interesting and bring up something that will increase your chance for a connection.
Bud has to show he has something of value to offer Gekko. Otherwise, he may never get another shot with Gekko. Fox is smart, gutsy and desperate. He brought three stock tips to discuss with Gordon Gekko. The first stock he brings up is rejected by Gekko. The second stock he brings up is also rejected by Gekko. Fox has one last shot. If he blows it, he will not get another shot to play with the "Big Boys." He comes up with a stock (based on inside info from his father) that immediately draws Gekko's attention, and Gekko gives Fox some business to trade stocks. Bud connected and got Gekko as a client.
Now, this example from this famous movie is about financial investing. Similarly when you are talking to people, they are also looking to invest, But that can only happen if you can first connect. If you connect, then it could lead to friendship, relationship or business. The question is, do you know how to connect effectively with people?
Like Bud Fox, you have to find quickly something that the person you are talking to is interested in. If the first two topics go nowhere, you better have at least one more in your pocket to save the day. If you are not prepared, you may not get another chance. You have to make it count when you meet people. People rarely give you a second chance.
If I had my speech prepared and rehearsed, it would have gone as shown:
According to Amy Chau, the triple package consists of three attributes. According to her research, it also applies to other groups too such as Jewish, Iranian, Cuban, Nigerian, Mormons, etc.
1) Superiority complex
These groups have some characteristic that make them feel they are special.
These groups feel that they are not good enough and could lose it all anytime.
3) Impulse control
These groups deny gratification and stick to something till they succeed. Parents foster this behavior in their children that if they don't sacrifice now, they will not succeed.
These groups exhibit an entrepreneurial spirit and believe that only paranoid survive.
After this brief speech, I could ask her if she has seen this with her family, relatives or friends. It could lead to a lengthy conversation since she can relate to this. I am certain that once you get her talking and share some information, you have made a connection. The connection can only happen because you had a short speech in your pocket that was researched, well organized and rehearsed. It could lead to a relationship, friendship or business. But it all starts with first making a contact and then a connection.
You have to make the connection happen through making sure you have a pocket full of speeches. Once you have them, you can easily deploy in a way that makes sense based on how the conversation is going and if there is an interest by the other person to know more. If you have something that can make the other person feel smart, then you will increase your chances of making a connection.