Networking Approach: Some People Just Rub You The Wrong Way

networking approachThis is a story about networking approach. The past weekend, I was out of town for a girls’ weekend with a friend, and we decided to head to the nearby resort’s spa for massages after going on a short rafting trip… as a way to end the day on a high note.

When asked what style I preferred after checking in, I said “relaxation” versus a deep tissue… I didn’t have any issues going on, and just wanted to chill out.

My session started, and the therapist went to work. And by work, I do mean WORK.

It wasn’t relaxing at all.  I think the best metaphor that I can equate this entire experience to was being massaged to the “Phantom of the Opera” theme.  Frantic. Hurried.

When asked about 10 minutes into the session whether the pressure was ok, I replied that it was.

However, I did ask her to slow it down.

She started when I said this, and so I added that I wasn’t sure if it was her style or not, but it felt very fast and in a hurry… not exactly what you’d expect for a relaxation activity.

The result?

She never altered her speed, nor checked back with me to find out if she was meeting my expectations.

Now this blog isn’t about the finer points of massage therapy inasmuch as it is about what happens when someone gives you feedback on how to improve your approach.

Sometimes, someone rubs us the wrong way… or we are the person who causes friction. That’s okay- we can’t expect to get along with everyone in the workplace, but it is how we handle that disconnect that matters the most.

Have you ever been in a situation where you know you weren’t building rapport or making that “connection?”

What does that tell you in terms of your approach?

What have you done to try to make a course correction and revise how you were interacting with them?

We learn socially by taking our cues from how people react to us.  If you are getting a lot of negative reactions, you can’t assume that the problem lies with everyone else but yourself.

That means that it’s time to start reflecting on what we might be doing wrong and find a way to work around it.  And sometimes, that means we have to completely change how we treat and react to others.

But the most important thing is to keep an eye out for those cues and learn to read/gauge how people are reacting in order to adapt our approach.

In the case of the massage therapist and the direct feedback that I provided, she didn’t alter course. Most people aren’t provided clear communications like that, and she ignored the opportunity to revise her approach.

I do need to cut the therapist some slack… immediately after my massage (which was adequate although not exactly relaxing), she was already taking the next client back so obviously, she was indeed in a hurry.

But it’s important to remember that whatever pressures we have going on in the background should never impact how we people in the present. It’s part of the brand promise that we deliver and how people will remember you.