Want to know my new thing?
Saying 'hi' to people.
See, I have a baby who is nine months old. She waves and says hi to everyone. Most people wave and say hi back. It's really simple at its core. Some people smile, or wave. Others walk over and make small talk with the baby, drawn in like a tractor beam by her cute face and innocent gesture.
Of course, I've already adopted this as a business technique... but it turns out I'm not the only one.
Johnston worked at McDonald's and made music at home, handing out tapes to anyone who would say hi to him.
Soon his legend grew, and his music was discovered by legions of indie rockers who passed through Austin, TX in the 80's. Eventually, his tape made its way to artists like Sonic Youth, REM, and Kurt Cobain, who took to wearing a Hi, How Are You shirt in public. This simple gesture helped make Daniel Johnston an important and well-known cultural figure. Remember -- all of this happened simply because Daniel would say hi to the world around him.
I've never been what one could call shy, but a few weeks I began making a concerted effort to say 'Hi' to anyone and everyone. It's amazing what effect such a seemingly small act has.
It's already helped in business. At a recent Emmys party I introduced myself to as many people as I possibly could. Some of this has turned into new opportunities and I even made a new friend along the way.
And it's helped with forging new creative relationships, too. If I happen to see an established writer, someone with whom I'd love to collaborate, I'll introduce myself. No harm, no foul. Most people will ask some questions to find out who you are, and if you catch them at the right time, it just may lead to a spark.
Why wouldn't you say hi?
Many people are afraid to make that opening gesture... to say hello. But not my nine-month- old -- she waves at everyone and smiles.
She's onto something.
Jared Gutstadt is the co-founder and co-CEO of Jingle Punks, a global licensing and commercial music production company based in New York. Follow him at @jinglejared and follow Jingle Punks at @jinglepunks, and on Facebook.