I have never been particularly great at social engineering. The Israeli in me tends to say what I think, no matter the environment or context. This has gotten me into trouble at times, but I also find it to be a valuable instinct that, when throttled well, helps me to express raw ideas and generate interesting conversations.
Though I read How to Win Friends & Influence People a while back, I rarely, if ever, find myself using particular tactics to win people over. I know there are benefits to employing certain heuristics. People will be happier if I smile more when I talk to them. They will enjoy talking to me more if I ask them more questions about themselves etc.
I find really really good people do not want this type of fluff or social strategies. They just want to talk to normal people and have interesting conversations.
I think not strategizing too much is my strategy for maximizing my time I have with people. While I have objectives (questions, goals, etc.) it is important to not stick to a script. It is important, for me, to be genuine and real with people.
This is a scary thesis in that “preparing” generally is never a bad thing. Bill Walsh would tell you that you should prepare for every situation. I think, however, that is different from having a particular script that you bring into every conversation.
Not strategizing is my strategy.
Also published on Medium.