Several years ago, I attended a workshop that Mark Wiskup presented. I remember him vividly because the topic was billed as “improving your communication skills” and I had a bee in my bonnet and decided I didn’t need to improve my communication skills. I am, after all, a professional communicator.
But my business mentor forced me to go (perhaps he was trying to tell me something??) and I begrudgingly did so. For the first hour, I was a little jerk. I sat there with my arms crossed and I asked questions just to antagonize him. But he knew what I was doing and he was a consummate professional as he put me in my place.
It ended up being one of the most engaging and interesting workshops I’ve ever attended. I will never forget his overarching message: you never know who you’ll run into at any point in your life, so behave appropriately.
In the middle of the workshop, he had a man in the middle of the room stand up. He introduced him, saying he had just met this man that very morning and then he asked him to tell the story.
On his way to the workshop that morning, Mark and this attendee were both at Starbucks. Mark held the door open for the man and then got in line behind him. They did the typical “waiting in line” small talk. After they got their orders, they went their separate ways.
Imagine their surprise, then, when they ran into one another at the hotel where the workshop was being held.
Mark used that as a way to illustrate that you never, ever know who you might run into, who they might know, or—in a completely different situation—what bridges you might burn. Imagine if Mark had been grouchy or slammed the door in the guy’s face or cut in line or any other seemingly rude thing. It could have ended very badly for him, as the day’s speaker.
It’s a small, small world, which isn’t famous just because Walt Disney said so. This is what we are going to discuss on this week’s episode of the Spin Sucks podcast.