The following is a short excerpt of one section in Chapter
Five, Beyond The Surname Experiment, from Secrets
of Lucky People. The chapter is about the value of
acquaintances (and covers research showing why they often bring
you more luck than friends)and this section is about building
To get the most benefit from knowing people, you have to have
some rapport with them. There are techniques for building rapport,
of course, and the simplest one is to ask people about themselves.
Then listen! If your memory is poor, take notes (perhaps not
right in front of them, but soon after talking to them).
Think about it, and you'll understand how powerful this can
be. Imagine for a moment that you have just met two people at
a party. You were introduced to both previously, but you don't
really know either one very well. The first man says "Hi.
How are you doing?" It seems that he doesn't even remember
The other man walks up and calls out your name. He then shakes
your hand and says, "How did that stay at the cabin on the
lake go?" You recall that you had mentioned the trip the
first time you talked to this man. He waits for an answer, like
he really wants to know.
Which man are you likely to talk to? And which one is more
likely to get some useful information from you? For that matter,
who would you be more likely to do a favor for? The one who apparently
doesn't even remember your name, or the one who seems to have
a genuine interest in you?
The second man understands the power of showing an interest in
people. And though he may get some advantage from knowing how
to talk to you, he probably truly wants to know how your fishing
trip went. It isn't too difficult to be interested in people
if you try. Of course, to show that interest, you have to know
something about the person.
The first time you meet someone, learn a few personal things
about him or her. Ask a few questions. Then write some notes
next to the person's name in your planner or card file when you
get home. Here is a short list of some of the things you might
want to ask about.
Does he have kids?
What kind of pets does she have?
Where did he vacation last, and why?
What hobbies does she have?
Is he involved in any social, political or business groups?
Where does she live?
Where has he lived in the past?
What other jobs or businesses has she had?
What is his favorite restaurant?
What is her favorite sports team?
What are his plans?
It isn't as difficult as it might seem at first to get this
kind of information in the course of a short and casual conversation.
If you have just moved to town, for example, you can mention
that fact, and ask the person you are talking to how long he
has lived here. Along with his answer, he'll likely mention where
he lived previously.
There is always something to be learned about a person if
you listen, and building rapport in this way is worth the effort.