March 31, 2021
We both stared at our laptops in awkward silence for what seemed like an eternity.
I was on a Zoom call with a new connection. After about five minutes, he began to pitch me his services before I interrupted him.
I’m not interested in being pitched to when making connections. I’m interested in building relationships.
Now, I was waiting in silence for this new connection to call me a jerk for interrupting him or to hang up on me altogether.
“Adam,” he said breaking the crippling silence. “No one has challenged me like this. I’m in such a routine and pattern, especially with all the Zoom introductions. I’m just so used to giving my pitch.”
I felt a sigh of relief and we continued to have a great Zoom conversation without any pitching.
“I actually hate talking about myself, but feel like I have to,” he said with gratitude.
Asking this connection to stop telling me what he does and start telling me who he is was a major pattern interruption.
The connection greatly appreciated me breaking his routine. I also know that he’s going to remember our Zoom conversation a lot more fondly than the ones when he went through that pattern of pitching he dislikes so much.
When he’s meeting with a Long Island business owner needing help with their business development, who do you think he will refer – me or one of the other Zoom calls?
A pattern interrupt is a change to your daily routine. If you pass a 711 every day on your way to work and one day you notice that there is a big blowup Slurpee in front, this is a pattern interrupt.
In business, even the smallest pattern interrupt can be useful to differentiate us and spark creativity.
Standing out from the crowd
I first heard of the term pattern interrupt when working at my past job at a marketing agency Generations Beyond. Jesse Wroblewski, the founder of “GB” prided themselves on marketing that stood out from the crowd.
GB continues to have amazing success with this strategy. So, I took this philosophy and applied it to make better connections. The results have been just as promising.
Business professionals constantly make new connections, always expanding their network. So, when you meet with a new connection, you have to assume two things:
- You are one of many new connections they will make that week (sighhhhhh…)
- If you become “just another connection,” the odds of you two doing business together are extremely slim. (we all know what “one-hit wonder” 1 on 1 ones are like…)
A pattern interrupt in a connection meeting is the perfect way to stand out to your new connection. This will lead to a better relationship and which lead to more than transactional business opportunities.
Even a simple pattern interrupt, like being genuine, makes a big difference. I told my new connection with honesty that I didn’t want a meeting full of back and forward pitches. He appreciated this, and I’m sure I stood out to him since I was the first person he saw do this.
A pattern interrupt can be something as small as a change of a word. Sometimes, instead of asking someone for a cup of coffee, I’ll ask them out for tea. Even the smallest interruption differentiates you from the crowd.
Humans are routine machines. We simplify things as best we can so they are repeatable. Most of what we do in business is routine.
Routine is an amazing thing. It helps us to solve problems in business quickly and without needing too much thought.
The problem is that routine can hinder creativity. Some experts have gone as far as saying that routine is a creativity-killer.
A simple pattern interrupt, such as changing your work environment or the time you work, can greatly enhance creativity.
If you are having trouble working through a problem, it may be useful to interrupt your pattern a bit. This will help you break your routine and open up new creative doors to solve the problem.
We are prisoners of our patterns. We mostly run-on autopilot and our days are filled with routine.
In business, pattern interrupts can be the differentiating factor that leads to your success.
When everyone goes one way, try going the other. What is the worst that can happen?
That’s what I call “unconventional opportunity,” a future blog in our pipeline. ~Adam H.