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Posted on Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 6 a.m.

When forming connections, focus on the positive

By Greg Peters


"We lost power!" or "Oooo, Pretty!"? You get to choose.

Photo by Thomas Bush

If you listen to the radio or open the newspaper (or your favorite electronic equivalent), it seems like the world is full of bad news. Disasters, calumny, scandal, economic catastrophe, and crime seem to be all that we hear about.

My karate instructor, Grandmaster Hafner refers to this as the "24-hour news problem." There are so many news stations and outlets now that everyone is competing for our attention by trying to deliver the scariest sounding news as often as possible.

How about we, as good networkers, don't contribute to the negative noise?

I'm not saying to go all Pollyanna or anything, but when someone asks you what's been going on in your life, hit a few of the high points first before you start in on your challenges. What are you excited about in the future? What are you proud about? C'mon, you've got to have one or two things that are going right in your life.

Starting out conversations in the positive tends to keep them in the positive — in the realm of hope and possibilities. Shape the interaction with the questions you ask.

"What sort of exciting things are going on right now?" "Do you have any fun plans for the upcoming year?" "What have been your proudest moments in the recent past?"

Then when they turn around and ask you the same, be prepared to tell them something great!

Maybe I'm being naive, but I think if we had enough of these conversations, people would begin focusing on their abundance rather than what's going wrong in their lives. Then, who knows? Maybe by focusing on the positive, we'll start seeing the opportunities available all around us.

I know it would be a shame to deny the news agencies their daily quota of doom and gloom, but I'm willing to take the chance. Are you?

Greg Peters, founder of The Reluctant Networker LLC, writes, speaks and coaches about good networking practice. For more tips that can help your connections count, go to