In baseball, contact hitters are batters who hit the ball often. In the real world, contact hitters are people who connect in a meaningful way with others. They are skilled communicators, engaged listeners, and they invest time in building relationships.
It was while playing baseball that I was first referred to as a contact hitter. I wore that label with pride! I did not hit a lot of home runs, especially when I was young, but I did not strike out much either.
In life beyond baseball, being a contact hitter is so important. I admire people who connect in deep and meaningful ways with others. They are able to connect quickly with people and are also adept at developing and maintaining long-term relationships. I strive to be the best contact hitter possible.
I have been the most successful in my life when the people around me were also successful. Being closely connected to those people has been integral to our respective successes. It does not really matter whether you are connecting with people in a volunteer organization, with your co-workers, with your family and friends, or with that team or group where you pursue your passions. While there are some differences in how you relate to people in different situations, there are far more similarities.
The keys to being a contact hitter are:
- Be an engaged listener – don’t pretend to listen; really listen.
- Invest time in connecting with people and maintaining relationships.
- Remember to have fun. A smile can make such a difference.
- Be positive – most people run away from negativity.
- Trust and act upon your instincts when connecting with people.
- Be yourself – everyone else is taken.
Sound easy? Well, it is and it isn’t. You must remain on your guard because you may have the best intentions but sometimes do not follow through. Being too busy is the most common reason for not being a good contact hitter.
If you believe in the importance of being a good contact hitter, you will find the time (see key #2).
John Hindle, The Contact HitterShare