AASHTO re:source Q & A Podcast

Soft Skills: Authentic Networking

September 06, 2022 Evan Rothblatt, Manager of Highway & Transportation Services at ASTM Season 3 Episode 18
Soft Skills: Authentic Networking
AASHTO re:source Q & A Podcast
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AASHTO re:source Q & A Podcast
Soft Skills: Authentic Networking
Sep 06, 2022 Season 3 Episode 18
Evan Rothblatt, Manager of Highway & Transportation Services at ASTM

Industry events and meetings can be overwhelming for introverts and extroverts alike. Evan Rothblatt with ASTM is a natural networker and joins us to discuss how to build an authentic professional network.

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Industry events and meetings can be overwhelming for introverts and extroverts alike. Evan Rothblatt with ASTM is a natural networker and joins us to discuss how to build an authentic professional network.

Related Information:

AASHTO re:source Q&A Podcast Transcript

Season 3, Episode 18: Authentic Networking

Recorded: August 26, 2022

Released: September 6, 2022

Host(s): Brian Johnson, AASHTO Accreditation Program Manager and Kim Swanson, Communications Manager, AASHTO re:source

Guest: Evan Rothblatt, Manager of Highway & Transportation Services at ASTM

 Note: Please reference AASHTO re:source and AASHTO Accreditation Program policies and procedures online for official guidance on this, and other topics. 

Transcribed by Kim Swanson and MS Teams. 

[Theme music fades in.] 

[00:00:00] Announcer: Welcome to AASHTO resource Q & A. We're taking time to discuss construction materials, testing, and inspection with people in the know from exploring testing problems and solutions to laboratory best practices and quality management, we're covering topics important to you. 

[00:00:21] Brian: Welcome to AASHTO resource Q&A. I'm Brian Johnson.

[00:00:24] Kim: And I'm Kim Swanson. And we have a special guest today. Brian, don't we?

[00:00:32] Brian: Yes, we do. Our guest today is a good friend of mine, Evan Rothblatt from ASTM. His title is the Manager of Highway and Transportation Services, which I didn't realize before we invited Evan. It didn't change the fact that we wanted to have Evan as our guest though, Evan. Welcome to the podcast.

[00:00:46] Evan: Thank you. Thank you. I'm, I'm honored to be here with both of you.

[00:00:49] Brian: Yeah. So, I've invited Evan today and not to talk about his title, but uh, we want to talk about something. He's really amazing at. It may not realize. I think this is going to embarrass him a little bit. But so many people are not good at this. This thing that we're going to talk about today and that is networking. Now, Evan, is this something that you are aware of? Did you know that you're considered to be really good or great at networking?

[00:01:15] Evan: Not in the least.  You and some others have pointed out to me. It's from time to time and it just. To me, it just feels like something natural to be and putting the title networking on it. For me it's just kind of. I don't know. Just for me it just conversing right? It it's getting to know people connecting and you know, I guess connecting and networking are one and the same but really it roots down to the fact that I really just enjoy getting to know people and getting to know their stories. For me it's not like a what can I get from you it's more so I just want to know what your story is. I think everyone's so unique comes from so many different backgrounds and places I think to me it's just I want to know your story.

[00:01:56] Brian: Did you know that just now you have dispensed knowledge to people that they didn't have before? This cause a lot of people when they think about networking. It is like a scheduled planned activity that has been well thought out and they just like I'm going to go into this meeting or this dinner and I'm going to sit next to this person and I'm going to talk to this person about this thing and I need to get this from them. But already like, I want to point out some keys that you brought out. Number one it's authentic. And one thing I thought about with this. Episode and generals. It's really about authentic networking, not just networking, because you do it without thinking about it like you're just you like people. You like to get to know them. You're good at sharing information with them and connecting people. All of these things that you do just kind of naturally are pretty amazing. And well, you may take it for granted, but others do not. So, again, I told you I was going to embarrass you and I'm delivering.

[00:2:54] Evan: I am blushing. I am blushing. This is uh, I'm. I'm not. I'm not a person that likes to speak about myself often, but I am honored that that these are the qualities that you see and I do, I genuinely appreciate it. 

[00:03:06] Brian: I also want to point out I don't want to dissect this to the point that you... like it messes you up. You know how sometimes where you're like, I just kind of do this thing and people are like, hey, you know how you do this and you like, uh, no. But now I'm going to think about it every time I do it. And it's going to change my life in a bad way. We.

[00:03:25] Evan: You're throwing a no hitter. It's the 8th hitting. Let me just call that out to you.

[00:03:29] Brian: Yeah. [Laughing.] Right. And that's actually happened to me a couple years ago, we had a training class on presentations. In the last couple of years, I started considering myself be pretty good at it giving presentations [Evan: You’re great at it.] until I had this class. And so, I go to this class at this person's telling us all these things and I'm like, OK, I do that wrong, I do that wrong, I do that wrong. And then for a couple months after that I was not good at giving presentations. [Evan: Did you get in your own head?] And then when I forgot about it, I was good again. Well, I'll, although I'm looking at Kim space and she's kind of like, what is he talking about? He's not good at this. OK. Kim, do you care to chime in on that?

[00:04:11] Kim: No, you're definitely a good presenter. [Evan: 100%.] I. Yeah. No, it definitely a good presenter. 

[00:04:16] Evan: You are as engaging as they come. For the same reason that you mentioned to me it's the same reasons you engage, you bring humor to presentations. You know I would hope that you do a podcast on presenting because it's like you bring all that energy and what you give is what you get back from that crowd. And I think it's the same again, it's the same as you when you talking about networking. If you give yourself, you get in return, right? It's if you leave yourself out there vulnerable to let people know who you are. I think that's the same that comes back to you is that people open up and share with you because again I'm going to open book, I think you guys know that pretty well. I mean there's no topics that are really... Bad for me that I'm always happy to share good experiences, bad experiences otherwise, and I think that leaves you willing to have open conversations with people who again. You establish trust with people, right? And I'm. I'm huge on that. If I have people that I am willing to talk to and trust and whether it's a confident, whatever might be. I will leave myself out there for them because again the same token, I will honor the same back. What you give? What is what you receive.

[00:05:21] Brian:  OK, so a lot of these things you do just kind of naturally, right? One question I wanted to ask you, and I think this is what people really struggle with, is the first time you go to a meeting that you've never been to, and I know you've been in this position before many times, where you're going into a room, people may not know who you are. How do you start a conversation and start building the relationships that you build?

[00:05:47] Evan: I think the best way to go about it is just to... See, I don't like to do anything unnaturally right. It's got to have a natural feel, right? I don't ever like to force anything. So, what I'd like to do is I just go in and just listen. Don't go in and you don't have to be the bull in China shop. Go into a situation knowing that you are either new to a group where you know, when I went to my first material meeting. Everyone seemed to know each other. There was such a collegial atmosphere, and everyone knew each other and knew all of this stuff. And so, I didn't go in and thinking, well, I know everything. I know everyone. I went in and I listened.  And where possible, I like to find where we can connect on common ground. That puts me at ease. It puts, I think the other person at ease. You find that common ground whether it's. Sports, food, whatever might be.

[00:06:37] Evan: But you find that area and then you just and just take it, you know a little bit of time, right. You don't have to know everyone right off the bat. You just kind of start with one or two people. I like to just, go in... Again, suss it out. You can read body language you can, you know. And you can see who's engaged and who's not. You can see people are in a very intense conversation. Just let them be like, don't try to jump in. I think it's a huge faux pa that some people tend to do or it's like you said some people might come in with an agenda and say well, I need to talk to that person. I'm going to do it right now. Don't do it. That to me, I think it's kind of common sense and don't go in and interrupt people just have a natural flow to it. And as I got more time and got a little more seasoned with going to the meeting. We're meetings. You know, if I saw someone kind of or a couple people stand up outside that weren't quite engaged with anyone. I want to say, well, why aren't they engaged? Why aren't they chatting? And then again you find out their story and maybe they're super shy. Maybe the jet lag and they just want to kind of stand over there. But you know I always want to make sure everyone's comfortable and easy again. I like to read body language and say well that person looks really info right now. What can I do to help make them more comfortable and again. It's a group of 400 people at times, plus or minus. If you're a TRB, you're 15,000. So, you're literally just one person amongst many and you just want to kind of ease your way into it.

[00:7:59] Kim: I think you brought up a couple of good points there that I just want to maybe reiterate for some people. I think one is to come into the situation with some curiosity about somebody and not necessarily looking to get XY and Z out of a connection. I think some people can go into a networking event when they're unsure of, like I need to see so and so. And I need to get, you know, five contacts out of this. And they put the pressure of an expectation of what that interaction or that event will be like for them. But if you go into it with a true curiosity about learning about other people, and then you can kind of see where the connections are and how you perhaps can have mutually beneficial interactions and connections like that. But I think that's a good thing of just going in with curiosity to begin with as opposed to having the expectation of I'm going to get this. So, it's not so transactional. It's more natural that way. [Evan: You got it.] So, I thought that was a great point that you brought up. 

[00:08:59] Kim: And another thing that I've heard as advice for networking events, is that if you kind of act like you're the host of the event and that makes you a little more...  Puts you in the mindset of going up to strangers. If, like, if you were hosting this event in your house and you saw someone kind of standing by themselves, like you said, you want to know, why aren't they engaged? What's their story? What's going on with them? So, you kind of can come at it with a different lens. And it's not necessarily at the pressure of it. I mean, I've had had that backfire a couple times on me, that personal advice. But generally, it's good. Like, you kind of think of yourself as the host of the event that you can kind of not be a wallflower, that you may naturally be.

[00:09:40] Evan: Exactly. I like to put myself in other people shoes. And so if I'm at new person coming in and I don't know everyone, you know what, who would I want to come over? What would I want to have happen? It's always nice. You know, when someone comes and introduces you to a couple people or again you find that common ground and say, you know what, you know, that person likes pickleball, right or that person enjoys going and seeing the capital building when they go to a new city, whatever it might be. It's just nice to get everyone engaged and breakdown some of those barriers.  And again, the first time I went to TRB, it was overwhelming and like you said, Brian, when you come into a situation, you don't know everyone. I remember going to TRB and it seemed like everyone walking through somehow knew someone. And, you know. And again, 15,000 people. So, the first year I went, it was this funny thing of I am completely anonymous here. And I'm walking through and then I remember taking a pause years later.

[00:10:40] Evan: Going and looking around and as I walked through it was, hey, I know you. I know you, I and it was and it's not like to me again. It's so nice to have that opportunity to say hey, let's catch up, you know, I know everyone's running off to Sessions, but it's just nice to see those faces. Quick handshake, quick exchange and then hey, I'll catch you later maybe. But I remember just kind of taking a pause and saying, wow, I've been here long enough now that I I'm now the person that knows everyone. Right. And you look for those people that you know their students that come in are probably just overwhelmed.  Coming to their first TRB and saying ohh my gosh like I got to get my poster session, but I don't even know where to go. It's nice when you have that person to kind of shepherd you through and kind of helps you and know that it's going to be OK.  Go and just talk to one person. At lunchtime or at a session, sit with someone you don't know. 

[00:11:25] Evan: Don't get in your comfort zone of I know this group or that one. Go sit with someone you don’t’ know. Go sit with ten people you don't know, and it's almost like wedding rules, right? If you're sitting at a table with nine other strangers... One of the things I love most is just eating with people right to eat alone is... That's not enjoyable to me. Back packing the day with AASHTO, with as an assessor. Yeah, you'd be out alone sometimes. I would make sure I would go sit in an establishment, sit at the bar, and I would talk to the bartender. I would talk to someone next to me. Even recently, when we were in the meeting in Bellevue, I sat at lunch and, you know, I didn't have one next to me. So, I sat down. I saw this young woman came in with luggage and she came in and sat down. We had an hour long. Chat and lunch and got to know each other and it was just again it's a it's a social experience, right? And you know, I'll probably never see that person again. But we had a nice luncheon and it was enjoyable. So, like you said Kim, it's coming with natural curiosity. It's not coming with an agenda. It's just how are you, how's your day and what's your story.

[00:12:31] Kim: Yeah. And if you bring up a good point as well, that especially at these industry events or something like that, that you do you have do have something in common. So, it's not like this is necessarily a stranger at a wedding, but even in the wedding scenario, you are at the wedding, you both know someone at the wedding, right? But like, you do have some common ground because you're both in that location at that time doing whatever you're doing. So, I think it can be overwhelming for some people. Especially introverts, that like I don't know anybody. I don't have anything in common and it's like, well, you do like at the basic human level, you have some commonalities, but also like you're at this event or you're at this meeting right there. There is some baseline of commonality that you can strike up a conversation with or about. And it doesn't always have to be about work. It could be something like, uh, they have like a team logo on their shirt or something like, oh, you went there, you did this and it doesn't have to be. Work related kind of stuff you can find common ground other places like that.

[00:13:34] Evan: And the funny thing you say about that, Kim is especially today with Zoom calls and Teams and stuff, and prior to that when you have a call maybe with a technical committee or something, you might be a chair of a committee or vice chair and you may not have met your vice Chair in person. And then when you get to the meeting, if you know who those two people are and you want to connect and say, hey, guess what? Each have never met before. And it's so nice when you see people just hit it off too, like not to not to kind of jump ahead here, Brian. But the idea of connecting people, whether they're in the same industry or even competing industry, whatever, might be putting people together that are just good people and just seeing that connection happen to me is, I mean, that's wonderful. It's again, it's like introducing friends that you have in two different areas that come together and then they become friends. I there's nothing better than me. I think just connecting people is a great thing.

[00:14:30] Brian: That is definitely one of your superpowers. Not only do you know somebody very well in so many different places, but you seem to be able to make those connections and then you make meaningful connections between people. And then that kind of grows this other relationship. It is awesome. Like it's a really great thing. And I know that many people have benefited from that just by getting to know you. So, we talked about what happens when you're new and you touched on what happens when you're not new, when you're more advanced. You know, a lot of people at some place, how do you navigate in area where you know, too many people you're, you know, let's say, you know everybody, you know, 400 people at this thing really well. How do you split up your time?

[00:15:16] Evan: It can be tricky, right? You get to the point where you're it's almost like oversaturation. But again, it's not something I necessarily think too hard about. Obviously let's say you got a weeklong meeting and that first night you get in and it's immediate like you said, here's 400 people and I want to talk to everybody. Right. And again, it's one of those things where it's great when there's either an event going on or maybe an off night, you kind of get a small group together or you get in touch with people ahead of time and say, hey, I know we're going to have a week here. Let's make sure we cordoned off some time together. And whether I can get 5 minutes or an hour or someone I'll appreciate every minute of it. But like you said, for me it it's that tricky area of... It's kind of going back to when we spoke about the fact that sometimes people's, you know, being in an intense conversation and don't interrupt them. Sometimes it's, you know, if you if you've been talking to someone for an hour or something, maybe it's time that, you know, break right. So, sometimes it is a good thing. I I shouldn't say never, never interrupt people. But. 

[00:16:18] Evan: I think it's just a matter of you look at the time that you have, you know if you're there for two days, you there for a week. See what events are going on and again in, you know, can I have a lunch with you? Can we sit at breakfast? You know, you find the times that sit in a session, you know what? I'll sit next to that person a session. We'll just kind of catch up. And, you know, when there's breaks or whatever. I'll go to these meetings and I will give 100% of myself that entire week. You know whether it's 7:00 AM till 11 at night. I will give every minute of myself to anyone that's possible. And it can be exhausting. But by the same token, I feel so fulfilled when I come home. It's I've reconnected with friends and people and... To answer your question, it's tricky, but you just again when you're engaged with a person, make sure you're fully engaged. And oftentimes maybe you don't get to see everybody. Right. But then you say, look, I'll see you next meeting or you know what? Next time I'm in in Cincinnati or next time I'm in Seattle, whatever might be, I'll make sure I look you up. Because like you said, when I get to a town, if I have a meeting, if I have something going on, obviously I'm there to do that. But in the evening or if I can get lunch for or meet up with someone. Obviously, I want to, even if it's just a quick coffee, just to connect while I'm there, take advantage of being in the same place at the same time and again, it's just you can find the time you make the time. 

[00:17:43] Kim: I think it's also important too, that you can. If you don't see everybody you want to see or you see them in passing, then to send the follow up e-mail after the event. Or again, like you mentioned before. Trying to schedule time before for those people are really important to you that you really want to maintain and build those connections in person. Be purposeful in that, but I think there is something to say for the serendipity of just like seeing in passing, or sitting next to for breakfast or things like that too. But slight pivot here [Evan: Uh huh.] of. I think we might have scared away all of our introverted listeners so far. We are about 20 minutes into recording of this and I think we probably have lost all of our introverts. But if we didn't, I would like to see if you have any suggestions that I know. I have some suggestions. I think most of us here in this call, most of us there's three of us. I think all of us I would say are mostly extroverted in tendencies for the most part, but I know I can get very drained when I have to be.

[00:18:41] Kim: Quote unquote on in a networking event. Where I relish my evenings alone when I have to travel, especially for our TechEx event or something like that. And I'm like, I was just bubbly and personable for way too long. Today. I need to be reclusive and recharge my battery, but sometimes I'm like you have an and I get charged up by the interactions but then other times I'm like no, I put all of my energy out I can. I need to gain that in doing something else, so I think that it's important to acknowledge that for the introverts and for the non-introverts that just like sometimes you don't need to schedule stuff all the time and that's not how it's going to work best for you personally in an event situation like that.

[00:19:28] Evan: That's really funny, Kim. So, you'll be shocked to know that when I was growing up or my early years, I was as shy and introverted as they come. And so I always kind of joked that I'm the introverted extrovert. What happened from my background was that as a as a kid we moved quite a bit and if you don't come out of that shell. You're not going to make a group of friends, right? And I grew up in a very culturally diverse city, right? I grew up in Montreal. And I think that that stimulated that early interest in getting people stories.  Having that kind of background then leaving a group of friends and making a new set and then a year later moving again. And some people don't really leave home until they go off to college and they're kind of putting that position.  By the time I got to college, I had already done that a few times. So, for me, it was just kind of like, all right, this is just the next phase and I think that that skill set would just kind of embedded. That's why when Brian says.

[00:20:27] Evan: Is it something you learned? Is it something that's natural to you?  To me, it just feels natural. I never really think what it is I'm doing, it just it's a natural thing to want to connect with people and have those, those circles and friends and connecting friends of friends again. you made a really good connection and put two good people together. It's about putting good people together. Right. 

[00:20:47] Brian: A good person connecting a good person with another good person and it's like that is a common bond. Whether what you know, they might have differences of opinion on different things, but that is the underlying value with all of those people, and it makes it easy to have those conversations.  But I want to address Kim’s comment on the introverts too. If you're an introvert and you're listening to this and like I can't do this, you can do it. You can do it. And I think Evan laid it out. You give, you take it one step at a time. You mix it up, you put yourself in these positions where you are meeting new people, sit at a table where you don't know everybody, all that kind of stuff, and you don't have to become best friends right away. It takes time to facilitate those conversations and to build those relationships. But you do have to open yourself up to it to begin with and take that first step. So, I think if you're an introvert and you're thinking this isn't for me. It can be if you let it.

[00:21:49] Evan: And it's a great point, Brian, in that even as an introvert again, I think you find your comfort zone. If you're sitting there and you, you know, you want to go again take your baby steps. But also, you know, just try to find one thing to connect on, right. Like sit at lunch. Little a little bit of time in the sense that I know it's going to be until I know it's kind of it's a stressor, right. We don't want to put stressors on ourselves. But take that first step and say alright at break, I'm going to talk to this person over here. I have no idea who they are, what they do, but I'm just going to go introduce myself. Right.  Get yourself in the mix. Even if you stand and kind of on the edge of the group to just kind of listen in a little bit, right that that's the whole idea of come in listen first then and something sparks your interest or hey I like that too right or I went and saw that movie whatever it is and ease your way and don't force your way in it's not a natural thing that way. Be invited in and work your way in but you're not going to get invited in if you're standing you know 100 feet away you've got to get yourself up to the edge of the group and work your way in right.

[00:22:59] Kim: Yeah, and I, but I think for some introverts, it's overwhelming. You see a group of people in you're like, I don't want to even go up. So, then that's when you look for - man, as I'm saying, this is sounds super predatory - but you look for the lone person standing by themselves. And then you were like, oh, like, hey, what did you think of that last session? Or like, oh my gosh, this food sucks or this food is amazing. Whatever it is. I like to use the breaker of what did you think of that last session? Or like Oh, did you see this or what are you looking forward to today? And then it can be as deep as a connection as we want. But I think it is just about putting yourself out there and maybe what? You're good at is the, you know, really deep one-on-one conversations and not the big group of like, I'm going to just stand here and hope somebody notices me. And that's one way to do it. But I think that it's being a little more proactive and having a little more confidence in that way. 

[00:23:55] Kim: But I think you're right. It just happens over time. And the more you do it, the easier it gets. But like it's still nerve wracking for I think everybody if you're going into a situation that you're not really familiar with. And you don't know anybody. There's always going to be nerves and stress associated with that. So, I think knowing that you're not the only one feeling that way is helpful too. [Evan: Yeah.] Like when you can recognize your symptoms of introverted-ness or shyness of somebody else and be like, OK, I'm going to. They look safe, I'm going to go talk to them and see what's up with that.

[00:24:26] Evan: You hit the nail on the head, Kim.  And it's funny the as you're saying all that I'm thinking about the stressors for me. I never liked presenting, right. I never liked getting on that stage. And again, Brian, get up there and look like he was at home. Brian could go up there and command an audience. And to me, that's not my comfort zone. And so, if I was asked to present, I would, I would overthink it and overdo it. And again, over time, you, you, you start to get a little better at it and more comfortable, but if you take me off that stage and put me with that same group where I'm at ground level eye to eye, I'm shorter. So, I'm usually looking up at people. But if I'm standing there and engaging one and working around the circle or working around the group, I'm so much more comfortable. But by that same token. If you're up on the stage and you're looking around, I'm not getting the same body language. It's almost like being on Zoom calls and Team calls. You can't always read body language to see if someone is engaged or not, right? You can tell.

[00:25:24] Evan: If I'm sitting there looking at you and having a conversation, I can tell if you're engaged, if you're looking at your phone, if you're checked out, if you're looking over my shoulder, I know if you're engaging it. Yeah. Thanks, Kim. As Kim looks at her phone. It's one of the things where be engaged in the moment. And again, that for the for me, that's an easy one. If someone just not engaged, I can just move on. And that's fine, right? And you're busy. That's fine. I'll move on to the next, but. I think the big thing is that body language, right? If you look and you see you can kind of, see that look in someone’s eye, they're just very timid or not comfortable. And so, and again. It was more when I was. When I got more comfortable with whether it was materials meeting, construction, meeting, whatever the meeting was, and I knew a good group of folks. If I saw a new people in there. Immediately, I would kind of train my eyes on them and say, do they look comfortable? Do they know people? I would have some of a state or someone from industry say, hey, I'm not going to make the meeting time, but this is my colleague is going. They are super shy, here's their number, please go find them and introduce them. And I'm always happy to do that.

[00:26:28] Brian:  So, I have one last question I want to ask because I think that this is an area that people, especially in introvert, might make them feel like they made a mistake, didn't make the impression they wanted to the first time. What would you do if you're in a situation where you, you're talking to somebody and you walk away and you're like, man, I shouldn't have said that or like that was kind of like, not really the impression I wanted this person to have of me. How do you fix that? Or do you just not worry about it?

[00:26:54] Evan: You are bringing the good questions today, Brian. As always as always, these are these are very good. Yeah and good these are good situations. Situational awareness right it's. You know, there are millions where you say something that you think ohh that did that come did that come across right did that and again reading body language or just being sensitive to you know there's certain topics you just don't want to cover, right? [Brian: Yeah.] There's certain things where... but there's certain topics you just don't touch, right? That’s the third rail, don't do it. But when you come to a situation where, did I say that right? Or... for me the best route is always just again, it's honesty. I'll address it. and I'll say, you know, you look a little shocked by what I said, or you know you look inquisitive. Like did I convey the right message, or do you have questions? I think addressed it in the moment, or even if you revisit it later, like if you get pulled apart and you're in mid-stream of a of a thought and obviously something happens the session starts, you have to go.

[00:27:52] Evan: Revisit it if you think that there's an issue there. Don't let it sit and doddle and again. Sometimes things are not a big deal at all, and you can just let it be. But I think I think you as a person that that conveyed the message will know in that situation. I should readdress this. But just be honest about it again. If you're having a conversation with someone, just be honest and open

 [00:28:12] Brian: I think that's great advice because there are times where you make a mistake. You know, sometimes you just make a mistake and you're like, oh, I didn't remember that detail correctly. This happens older, you get. You have so many experiences. Sometimes things do run together in your mind and that's OK and I think people understand that. But I think it is important to go back and fix it and make sure that that person understands what's going on. I know I've done that at times. And it is a weird conversation to have afterward, so you're like, hey, remember how we were talking about this? I'm sorry, I actually remembered that detail incorrectly. This is what really happened and it's like I don't know why this happens, but it happens sometimes and it's always best to get it right. And I think what you said initially. If you can see them reacting in a way that indicates what you say may be strange or maybe not that they expected, it's good to explore that right away. When you separate from that person, that's when you're like having that debate with yourself, is it worth going back and getting into it with this? And it really depends on how important it is and then you can decide what you want to do. 

[00:29:22] Evan: I couldn't agree more Brian, and it brings up the point that... You know as we get older here, there's moments when. I may be engaged in talking with someone and it's like I'm searching for a word or a moment or something and the funny thing is. When you relax your brain and you know an hour later or even two days later, that thought comes up. I will immediately get to the phone and text or or get in touch in person and say by the way I just remember what we were talking about.  And to bring up another point is. You know the last two and a half years during COVID and the pandemic, the fact that we were all kind of away from each other and I kind of say like this fog set in, right? That coming back and seeing people again, there's been some time there's been a gap and it's OK to forget and it's OK to, to be honest about it. But we're here now and let's reconnect and move. And I think that happened to a lot of people.And the other thing is for that time period there then people that retired and moved into different roles and stuff. You know a lot of changes happened in the course of the last couple of years. So, it's OK to say I forget or reintroduce yourself.

[00:30:36] Brian: I often find myself saying I cannot. I'm sorry. I can't. I can't remember your name. But that is far better than calling somebody by the wrong name. People do not like that.

[00:30:49] Evan: Yeah, it's also kind of funny when people look and they think they know. And I'm too polite to tell them immediately. I'm not the guy you think I am. Like you talking to their own person. But, you know, again, I think being kind and being empathetic in his moments, right, like we all. We've all done that. So, just, you know, don't be mean or don't be agitated, right.

[00:31:09] Brian: Yeah, because we haven't really talked about that when you're on the other end of it. You know, if you're the one being called the wrong name or you're the one being asked. Oh, I don't remember your name. Like, you have to give that person some grace. Right? Like, it's like if you haven't been in that position, you will be at some point. [Evan: Yeah.]  But you know, maybe give that person a break and just kind of move on or if they mispronounce your name, it's like it's OK you can correct them, but be kind about it.

[00:31:39] Evan: So, it's one of the things where there's some people that are so known in the industry that are so known and transportation so known in asphalt or concrete or whatever it is. And. You know, I totally get it. When they've been, you know, 14 different countries presented, they come in and we've met maybe four or five times and every time I can look, and I can say that person doesn't know my name and that's OK [Brian: Yeah.] because it's hard to keep track of all that you know. And if we don't see each other for a year at a time or. Couple years I get it right, so I'll just, I'll go right in and make it easy and just say hey, by the way, I haven't Roff that good to see you again and then it might trigger something, or they'll just say hey, I'm so and so I don't remember you.

[00:32:26] Brian: Yeah, and. And you know that's I think that's the final point in all of this is just to have some humility and don't have a big ego because it's not an endearing quality when you're trying to, especially you're trying to build relationships with people. You want to give, you're not there to just take all the time. So, Uh, and I mean, there's so many good nuggets here in this episode. I hope people get a lot out of it and I want to thank you for your time. I know you're. You're as busy as anybody. So, thank you so much for sitting down with Kim and me today and talking about networking. It's we could talk about all sorts of things. I mean, we can talk about ASTM, Compass. Uh, you know, all day long or any of the other things that you're involved with and we may do that in the future. But thanks for talking about networking with us today.

[00:33:18] Evan: My pleasure, Brian. Again. It was an honor to be here and again. I really appreciate the time that the insightful questions. It was great to speak with you guys and I'm always happy to make time to chat and catch up with you guys.  

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