“Go out into the world today and love the people you meet. Let your presence light new light in the hearts of others.” ― Mother Teresa
People with WOO in their top 5 Gallup StrengthsFinder results love meeting new people. To them, these are not strangers: they are friends that they just haven’t met yet.
While many would be intimidated by the challenge of breaking through the awkwardness, making small talk, and befriending someone new, those with the WOO talent theme relish these opportunities. In fact, they are energized by it. They naturally want to know people’s names and ask them questions, bringing an incredible creativity and energy in building rapport. They are delighted whenever they gain a new friend, which is at the very core of this StrengthsFinder theme – Winning Others Over.
Those with the WOO StrengthsFinder theme have an extraordinary ability to draw people out of their shells. When tasked with putting more reserved people at ease during social situations, those with the WOO talent theme can help new people feel comfortable. They take initiative and bring energy to social situations. While those with the Relator StrengthsFinder theme build deep, bringing greater depth and authenticity to existing relationships, those with WOO generally prefer to build wide, and often dislike static or shrinking social networks.
People with the WOO talent theme can sometimes be mislabeled as shallow, phony, and superficial, particularly if their WOO talent theme is in its infancy stage and they do not have other talent themes such as Relator, Empathy, or Developer to build close relationships with others. However, this is usually the result of misunderstandings. While it is true that those with Woo generally prefer to meet and greet, win over, and then move on to befriend the next new friend, it is not true that they do not desire quality relationships with others. It would thus help those with Woo to find the right words to explain to others that networking is part of their personal style. Without this clear communication, others might mistake their friendliness as insincerity.
One of my good friends, Natalie, has Woo in her Top 5 StrengthsFinder results. Whenever we go on a trip to Thailand, Nepal, or the Philippines, I am always amazed at her ability to make friends wherever she goes. She has the gift of being able to turn a stranger to a friend in mere minutes, teasing a smile or a laugh out of them and bringing cheer to their lives. In Singapore, whenever we go out for a meal together, the waiters and waitresses seem to gravitate towards our table because of her warmth and friendliness. As a result of her Woo talent theme, everyone around her feels better about their day – and we get better service as an added bonus!
How can a person with Woo turn this talent into a Strength? Here are a few suggestions.
1. INTENTIONALLY BUILD YOUR NETWORK OF ACQUAINTANCES
Since those with the Woo StrengthsFinder theme are energized at the possibility of turning acquaintances into friends, they would do well to intentionally build their existing (and probably broad) network of acquaintances. They can tend this network by checking in with each person at least once a month to see how they’re doing. They could also make it their personal goal to learn the names of as many people as they can, building an index of personal information for each contact, such as his or her birthday, favorite color, hobby, or favorite movie.
2. PRACTICE WAYS TO ENGAGE AND BEFRIEND OTHERS
Practice ways to effectively engage and win others over. For example, research people before you meet them so you can find the common ground. Refine your system for remembering the names of people you meet. Establish goals to motivate yourself to learn the names and a few personal details about as many friends and colleagues and customers as possible. You can help your team and your organization make many valuable connections.
3. SEEK COMPLEMENTARY PARTNERSHIPS
Partner those with Deliberative
People with Deliberative can be described as “socially cautious.” They tend to be private people, selective about those they allow into their inner circle and preferring quality over quantity. They tend to choose their words wisely and are more reserved with their praise as they want their words to be meaningful. In contrast, those with Woo can be described as “socially adventurous.” They love meeting strangers because they see it as an opportunity to make new friends. They tend to enjoy playful banter, as it helps them build rapport quickly. However, because of their natural tendency towards this banter, they can sometimes be seen as superficial, saying things they often don’t mean. Such a partnership would encourage those with the Woo StrengthsFinder theme to not only expand their social networks, but also protect and build their existing friendships with care.
Partner those with Relator
People with Relator are naturally drawn to deepening existing relationships, bringing a genuineness and authenticity that invites enduring, meaningful connections. When in a large crowd, they prefer to connect with people whom they already know. In contrast, those with Woo are excited at the prospect of forming new relationships. In a large crowd, they are drawn to strangers – in their view, new friends they haven’t met yet. This partnership would encourage those with Woo to bring greater depth to their existing relationships, thus building deep as well as wide.
Partner those with Focus
People with Focus are talented in zooming into an overarching goal with laser-like precision. Whether directed with a social or more task-oriented element, they have the innate ability to evaluate, prioritize, and re-direct, effectively aiming their time and efforts toward that overarching goal. In contrast, people with Woo are talented in engaging with large audiences, and are naturally gifted in expanding their social networks. Partnering with someone with Focus would thus empower those with the Woo StrengthsFinder theme to direct their social influence towards building connections that would be beneficial for the team’s overall goals.
Concluding thoughts: Those with the WOO StrengthsFinder theme have an amazing ability to break the ice and turn strangers into friends. While sometimes misunderstood by others because of their tendency to move from one new friend to the next, it’s important to recognize that they bring tremendous value to a world that in many ways is becoming increasingly more insular and disconnected. If you have a friend or team member with Woo, recognize and celebrate them for their natural talents – they, in turn, will bring a great exuberance and cheer to your world!