My 1+1 Strategy

For several years this has been the single most important meeting strategy that has helped me become hyper-connected while maintaining a generous mindset.

There are two key parts to my “1+1” strategy. Both have helped me focus on the needs of others while concurrently becoming a connector.

1+1 Strategy PART 1: Do 1-to-1s, not as an aberration, but as a way of life.

Several years ago, I joined a couple of new Boards of Directors locally. I didn’t really know anyone except for the person who had nominated me and as a byproduct the people who interviewed me. I decided to assign myself a challenge: meet everyone on the Board outside of Board meetings at least once during the year and have a 1-to-1 meeting.

Wow, that’s a lot of work, but I did it.

So what happened?

Lots. I met with many people and got to find out more about who they really were. I found out that some people deemed themselves too “busy and important” than to find the time to meet with me. I guess they were beyond over committed or maybe they were worried that I was meeting them to sell something [see part 2 for more on how to mitigate this]. I don’t like being sold to either, so I understand. Either way, I continued my mission and by the end of the year I met with everyone who would meet with me.

What was the result? Well, after just 1 year, I was able to walk into a room full of people that I actually could say I knew personally. It felt like an episode of ‘Cheers’; where everyone knew my name. The meeting dynamics totally changed for me after just one year.

One of the members of executive leadership even pulled me aside, “So you religiously did 1-to-1s with the whole board this year? That’s such a good idea, I need to do that”.

This takes a lot of work, but the results are astonishing. Initiative matters, especially in a consistent manner.

I’ve used this 1-to-1 strategy with everything I’ve been a part of.

So what do we talk about in these meeting?

1+1 Strategy PART 2: 1 Idea. 1 Introduction. Every. Single. Meeting.

If you are in the business of selling stuff (like me) people sometimes may avoid meetings because they may think you are going to get salesy with them and try to pitch them. Especially people who don’t know you well and haven’t found out that being salesy isn’t your style.

So you need to frame the context of the meeting as anything but a sales opportunity. You need to clearly state that you are both part of XYZ Board and you want to meet to get to know them and find out more about how you both can work together on XYZ Board (or committee or group or whatever you are jointly a part of).

Then, at the 1-on-1 meeting you employ the second part of the 1+1 strategy: you focus on having 1 idea and 1 introduction for the other person by the end of the meeting.

That’s right, you are going to embrace the mission of brainstorming 1 idea and making 1 quality introduction for every single person you meet with. This sets the stage for asking really good questions that uncover what their endeavor is, where their needs are & how you can help them with your network.

Although this may seem difficult at first the more you do this the better you get at it. Just like anything else worthwhile, right?

Even if the idea is a simple resource you saw online.

Even if the introduction is just a person who you think they would get along with.

If you begin with this mindset then you have a chance at magic. By doing this deliberately you will find situations where your 1 idea and 1 introduction truly changes someone’s life. Seriously, think about those seemingly pedestrian forks in the road in your life that ended up changing everything. This strategy has the power of creating tremendous value.

This will frame your personal brand in the best possible way: generous & connected.

My 1+1 Strategy will vault you into that direction.

Dip your toes in the pool. Try it some time.

Thanks for reading this thought!