There are two extremes of strategy in meeting people.
The first strategy suggests that you reveal yourself slowly, over time, so they like you and are open to knowing more about you.
This is the strategy of the salesman, who actually learns to reflect new people, showing himself to be like them first, in order to gain trust. He builds agreement and sameness, using techniques like mirroring and NeuroLingusitic Programming.
It’s certainly a good technique when you are one-on-one with someone, and when you have a specific goal in mind. Its one reason I like being one-on-one; I can adapt my focus to an individual and touch them.
The second strategy suggests that you be boldly yourself in every moment, so that others can see and be attracted to the unique you.
This is the strategy of the evangelist, building attraction & interest, drawing people into his world, his realm, his circle.
It is a marketing strategy rather than a sales strategy, using a qualifier to weed out those who aren’t ready for your proposition, whatever it is. If they aren’t going to engage, best to know that first and not waste time on them. You can always pick them up later as your circle expands.
I read Vickie’s response to my post on relationships, where she details her strategy of sales. She joined groups, pitched in, used her limited resource to expose herself slowly over time while giving others what they wanted. She let people get to know her.
Her results, both she and I are sad to say, were limited.
How much do we invest in building relationships in order to find commonality when we know from long experience that there is a very limited market for connection with us?
Is it better to be bold and unique up front, assuming that we can attract the pool of people who are attracted to us and then focus on them, even if we don’t connect with the masses?
This is a sales versus marketing question.
For people who do good in sales, having lots of commonalities and being able to maintain those over time, being bold and brazen seems like a counter-productive strategy to build relationships.
But for people who know that more knowledge often queers the deal, maybe being queer and unique up front is really the only choice. Being bright and bold and qualifying lots of prospects (or, more precisely, disqualifying lots of prospects) is really the only way to make connection in the world.
It is a strategy question for which there is no clear answer, because even after you meet someone who is interested, you have to build a relationship, sell yourself over time.
For those of us who are queer, though, classic sales personal strategies, even those tested over time, may not be productive.
We may need, I fear, marketing.
Go big, or go alone.