Sheila’s upbeat charm and zeal for people was always infectious, but this day she entered the meeting room with an extra measure of energy and excitement. “Guess what? I made a new friend today! I was doing a trial membership at a gym and met all these nice people and one of the guys is going to show me how to play racquet ball!”
Our curmudgeon of a boss snarked, “Sheila, you have made more friends this month than I have in my lifetime.” Unfazed, Sheila replied, “Oh? I can help you with that. Want to come to the gym?”
Our boss was having a WOO encounter. Back in the day, to “woo” someone was to seek or attract their support or favor. In CliftonStrengths it is used as an acrostic for the talent of winning others over. People with Woo have never met a stranger - just a potential new friend. Whether it is people in a waiting line, the server at a restaurant, or someone who mistakenly dialed their number, they can make a quick connection, find common ground, engage in friendly dialogue and mobilize another person in a New York minute that might make some people say “Whoa!”
Woos thrive in roles that connect with more people in less time and drive that connection to some kind of outcome, activity or commitment. Sales, recruiting, marketing, networking, and business development are some of the arenas where this talent will shine.
People with Woo can be very transparent in an initial conversation with someone they’ve just met. In fact, the term TMI (too much information) was first labeled on a Woo. This is part of the Kryptonite for the Woo talent. For some people, the lack of boundaries with Woo can be overwhelming. For others it can be confusing as what they perceive as emotional streaking through a crowd may be interpreted as manipulative, presumptuous, or disingenuous. But for Woos, friendship is not initially about quality of intimacy but the quantity of invitations to connect.
This talent only shows up in people’s Top 5 about 12% of the time in the CoreClarity database. In my early years of Strengths coaching I did volunteer work helping jobseekers find employment. One search skill we would focus on was how to network with others - especially with those outside your current circle of acquaintances. Most people in the group struggled or resisted networking and their job searches would often linger from several months to years. However, I noticed people with Woo would often find new employment in a few months if not a couple of weeks. The difference? What was a people skill to be learned by others was a natural talent for Woos that provided a large built-in network that they were constantly growing. Our joke was if you were going to a network meeting, find a Woo and be their wingman and watch your contacts rise just being in their wake!
So the next time a person grabs that empty middle seat on your flight and starts engaging in conversation, don’t get annoyed - take notes. You’re probably in the greatness of Woo.