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#WFH: FROG: Family, Recreation, Occupation and Goals

FROG an acronym for Family, Recreation, Occupation and Goals. Remember the most important word in drawing someone else into a conversation is you, not me, not I and not myself. What FROG does is shift the focus from you and your concerns and interests to the other person. Everyone has heard the expression “It’s not what you know but who you know and how well you know them!” Connecting, networking and knowing the right people are the first steps on the road to success. It comes more naturally to some people than to others. We are not all Bill Clinton by nature.

Information is everywhere and it is nowhere. Facebook, Google and Apple control a great deal of what we see and how we see it. We trust less and connect more. We have thousands of friends on Facebook but fewer than ever in real life. We send emails, texts, and voice messages. There are more and new apps and devices that communicate every day. For all the texting and messaging we do we really have fewer solid and trusting relationships because technologies filters so many cues. One on one F2F interaction still has the biggest impact on getting to know people and letting people get to know us.

If we focus on asking questions in this area not only do we connect but we get to know people. This allows us to take a genuine interest in people, and in the virtual world that is important. Genuine needs to be emphasized here. People will pick up on a phony even online. Asking questions about FROG allows us to break the ice. It gives us a way to open the conversation and draw someone in. If we are dismissive and insincere, we will do more harm to our relationship than we will do good.

Use FROG with tact and discretion. The old saying never mess with a person’s family, home or money has validity. We want to convey interest, not come off as a busybody, gossip or “nosey Nelly.” Treat people the way they want to be treated and be aware of their boundaries. If we pick up on signals that this is something they are not interested in sharing with us, we drop it. What’s important is to connect with people on a personal level and build relationships. Remember to stay positive. If the only time our virtual coworker is hearing from us is once a week at the project management meeting and all the news is negative that isn’t going to keep anyone connected. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone, jump on video chat or have a F2F meeting. Text is informal and direct, and email is formal and indirect. Focus on the other person and make the connection.

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