Maribeth Kuzmeski on Raising Kid Connectors

Susie McGee
Maribeth Kuzmeski talks about "kid connectors."

Maribeth Kuzmeski is the author of The Connectors: How The World's Most Successful Businesspeople Build Relationships and Win Clients for Life. In the following interview, Maribeth shows how the principle of building relationships in the adult world can also be applied to the world of kids.

Please tell us about yourself.

I am married and the mother of two (15 year old daughter and 13 year old son). I started my firm, Red Zone Marketing, in 1994, as a part time venture providing marketing consulting out of my house. Today I employ six people, and the firm works primarily in the financial services field with mutual fund companies, insurance firms, and financial advisory firms.

I have written a new, bestselling book, The Connectors: How The World's Most Successful Businesspeople Build Relationships and Win Clients for Life that is based on my observations of the successful businesspeople that we work with and interviews with hundreds of the world's most successful professionals. I gathered real secrets to success from some of the world's best business leaders - how they have better (and more) powerful business relationships.

What does the phrase kid connector mean?

A "kid connector" is a child who is socially confident, can communicate clearly, and has awareness about how others feel around them.

Why aren't kids taught how to build relationships?

Kids are taught to have relationships within their families because in order to have a good family unit, relationships must be developed. "Don't fight with your brother," "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all," "say please and thank you", etc. But, outside of the initial family unit, we often teach our children only by our example without a specific focus on improving these skills. We may say, "be nice" or "listen to Mr. Smith when he's talking to you." We tell our children how to act and behave in public, but not often how to communicate better.

What motivated you to pursue this topic?

I have two children that I very much want to be excellent communicators and connectors. When I look at successful traits of people as I did in the book, The Connectors, I found that having refined relationship skills is the number one indicator in success, not necessarily how book smart you are. But, this isn't taught in school. And as we all want for our children, I want them to be successful.

What are some tips you can offer parents and educators regarding this subject?

Give children examples about questions to ask to start a conversation or to keep it going (I really like your tie, what is your favorite book, what's the best part about your job), and how to listen for the remarkable (teach them to hear the unique or different things that a person says and focus on remembering that, and then ask a follow up question about that remarkable thing that was said). The more the child is and acts interested in the other person, the more they will truly develop a connection. The child will be remembered as exceptional because of his or her communication and social confidence.

Where can we read more about you?

You can go to Red Zone Marketing and my blog at Red Zone Marketing Blog.

Where can we purchase your book?

At any bookstore or online bookseller.

Maribeth Kuzmeski on Raising Kid Connectors