The Philly Cheese Steak Principle, Part Deux

by Kristy Amburgey

The "What Are You Reading?" Principle

The “What Are You Reading?” Principle

Several years ago, I wrote about the Philly Cheese Steak Principle, which I defined as a way for people to use friendly, light-hearted conversations or interactions to grow their professional or personal network and connections.

After some reflection, I now see the need to update the name of this idea to the Ouagadougou Principle. Or the Standing-in-line-at-Disney-asking-about-someone’s-hometown Principle. Or the Sharing Space on a Flight Principle. Or the I-wore-a-business-suit-while-traveling-so-people-gave-out-business cards Principle. The list could go on infinitely as so many people have amazing stories of connecting with others through random, unexpected interactions.

This collection of principle titles and stories further proves that connecting with a person can be effective when it is based on a commonality or on a shared experience. That common ground could be a job, a school, a unique pair of shoes or waiting in a long line together. The only way that the [insert your own term] Principle will work is if you take the first step and say something. Often it takes some courage to make a comment or give an observational opinion, but it is so important to take advantage of any opportunities presented to you. In encouraging you to take any and all chances, it is smart to have some situational awareness (e.g. keep in mind the tone of the event or poking fun at a complete stranger who may not appreciate it) and be genuine about wanting to interact with the person.

Hence forward, I want to name this concept the Your Personal Story Principle. We all can use our everyday experiences to establish new relationships with those around us, based on even the most unusual ways to meet (I am talking to you, Funny T-shirt Principle person).

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department. She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for over 10 years.

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