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Talk to Strangers: How Everyday, Random Encounters Can Expand Your Business, Career, Income, and Life by David Topus

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Chapter 8

Anonymity—A Random Connector’s Greatest Advantage

Lest you think strangers are less willing to share information, think again. They’re very often more forthright, as counterintuitive as this may seem. Anonymity actually works to your advantage during a random encounter, because people are surprisingly more eager to share facts about themselves with someone they don’t know than with people they do. They simply assume they’ll never see or hear from you again, and until names are exchanged, you’re still a complete stranger. And that means you’re safe. They will therefore tell you things they would never tell someone who came to see them in their office and give you information they’d never give a colleague. But they’ll share it with you because, after all, it’s all under the veil of anonymity—and as far as they know, it will continue to be.

In the first few moments of a random exchange, you don’t know the other person and he or she doesn’t know you. It’s safe. It’s comfortable. In these situations, you can find out a great deal about others—what they do for a living, what company they work for, even where they live, where they’re from, and where they’re going. You might even find out what’s important to them, whether they’re happy with their life circumstances, and what they do and don’t like about their work, home, company, and more.

Under the shared veil of anonymity, you can offer up bits and pieces of your life, too, so all is fair. You’re not building a dossier; you’re ...

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