“I love walking into a room where I don’t know anyone,” said Mike Lanzing, the 150th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers.

Most people would shudder at the thought of having to make conversation with all those strangers. But Mike is such a warm, social person that he delights in mixing with people who can expose him to new ideas and stories.

When I contacted Mike, the general manager at UniBank, to suggest lunch, I was surprised that somebody so senior would agree to meet me. Now I know why he did.

Mike has spent his career in banking and finance. Early on, a boss suggested he move into sales. It suited Mike, who not only enjoyed meeting people, but who also felt comfortable making cold calls or giving presentations.

It didn’t take me long to see why Mike has had such a successful career. He quickly made me feel at ease, by asking questions about my background, closely listening to my answers and taking a genuine interest in everything I had to say.

I’m very glad I contacted Mike, because part of the reason I’m having lunch with 500 strangers is so I can learn the sort of social skills that seem to come naturally to him.