A Quick Guide to Links, Connections, and Common Interests

One of the best ways to make a deal—and keep making future deals—is to create a relationship with the other side.  If you can find a connection that goes beyond just business you can make better deals now and in the future.  These connections, however, have to be real.  A fake connection can be seen a mile away and will ultimately get you in trouble.  Take a look at the following list to make real connections that can build relationships.


Environment and Style

Desk—The comfort zone.  Everything there is important.  Souvenirs, kid-stuff, photos, company mottos, mission statements.

Cars—Alter ego. Fast, plush, safe, exotic, functional.

Clothes—The style of the person.  Aggressive, conservative, neat, messy, severe, natural.

Speech—Audio clues.  Sports metaphors.  Literature or movie references. War analogies.  Name-dropping.  Place-dropping.

Recreational Links

Sports (Spectator)—Mementos, souvenirs, autographs.

Sports (Participatory)—Trophies, framed scorecards, golf or running shoes on floor, clubs, racquets, rods in corner, bandages, limps.

Hobbies—Spare time.  Collecting anything.  Stamps, coins, antiques, toys, books.  Hunting, fishing, diving, photography, golf, gardening, reading, movies, travel.

Pets—Dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses.  For fun, for show.

Human Connections

Families—The obvious connection, often the best.

Children—The big connection.  Babies and late night feedings, adolescents and acne, teenagers and driving, college kids and tuitions, married and having babies.

Friends—Who knows who you might have in common.

Heroes—Mentors, influences.

Culture Links

Art, Music, Theater, Dance

Civic Activities

Boards, charities, causes, politics—(be careful).


Ethnic Heritage—Never underestimate the power of a shamrock.  Handle with diplomacy.

Ailments—Bad backs, allergies, pulled muscles.

Jokes—Some people collect them.

Alma Mater—Grade school, prep school, college, grad school, military, fraternity, sorority, Rotary, Kiwanis, Elks, Scouts.

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