Expressing our thoughts, especially the unpopular ones, is dangerous. Or so we think. It makes us vulnerable and gives people an opportunity to judge. But can that be a good thing?
I think there’s much more to be gained by sharing an unpopular opinion over not sharing one at all. Here’s why: vulnerability is powerful - it’s the main point of connection between people who don’t know each other. Being neutral doesn’t make you friends or enemies.
It’s important to connect with people beyond superficiality. You want to make a human connection with them, not just exchange information mechanically. To do this, you have to find a common shared view or a common shared enemy. This happens by being real and letting people know what you really think and stand for - not by trying to appease them. For those who agree with the real you, this is how relationships form, bonds are made and deals get done. People connect with people they agree with.
Being real will also cause people to disagree and oppose you. That’s OK - this is a great mechanism for identifying which relationships you shouldn’t spend time on. By making ourselves more vulnerable to opposition, we’re also making ourselves more recognizable to potential allies.
Whether you’re looking to make new friends or to close more deals, you should be looking to find other people like you: people who think like you and believe what you believe. These are the best connections you’ll make, both in business and in life.
What have I learned from doing this wrong for so long? It’s always best to be yourself - when meeting new people in person, over email, text or elsewhere. This helps build deeper connections. If you try to be who you think the other person wants you to be, who does that make you?
Let’s worry less about the people who might not like us for who we are and more about the ones who will join our team.