Everyone is better at certain things than others. Yet there are certain aspects of life that we all need to accomplish if we want to succeed. One of these aspects is connecting with people.Whether its interacting with the clerk at the grocery store or its apart of your normal job requirements. We all need to be able to connect in some way.
Connecting well with others is still not something you see all the time. From my experience it seems as though greeting has been confused with connecting. Here is why I think this.
Per Websters dictionary greeting is simply a salutation at meeting someone. Acknowledging someone is a nice gesture. When someone says hello to me I do appreciate it. This happens a lot. But what did I learn about them, and what did they learn about me?
Connecting is something much more personal. Which is probably why so many people are not good at it. It feels risky but can have huge rewards. Greeting is easy but connecting is life changing.
Someone who is good at connecting makes more of an impact on those they are connecting with. Connecting makes you memorable and builds solid relationships. It also builds popularity and can help you succeed in your career and daily life. Most of all it builds a pathway to be able to speak into others lives. Its the starting point for a trusting relationship.
I will be the first to admit that connecting is not 2nd nature to me. I have spent the last few years intentionally learning how to connect better with others. I believe even the most introvert person with practice can be good at connecting. Here are 8 principles I have learned to help anyone connect better.
- Be Genuine: Connecting with people start and stops with being truly genuine. Always be yourself. People can sense whether you are being genuine or not. You will find that being genuine is much more excepted than trying to be something that you think they want you to be. If your silly be silly. If your more serious then be serious, either way be yourself.
- Pay Attention: Truly listen to everything the other person is saying. Repeat back to them some of what they have said. It shows you were listening. Notice their surroundings. Maybe you’re in a crowded place. Find somewhere to talk that is more comfortable. This shows you care about them. Also notice the time. Do not want to over stay your welcome.
- Get to Know Their Support System: Ask about family and friends. If you can bring the special people in their lives into the conversation; you will show you care about whats most important to them. If family and or friends are in the area engage them into the conversation as well.
- Be Approachable: Smile make eye contact. Remove any barriers that might hinder connecting. If your behind a table or have your hands full of things remove them. The person you are wanting to connect with should not feel they are competing with anything.
- Be Engaging: Lean in and shake their hand. Tell them your name and then get their name. By leaning in gives the notion you are interested in talking with them. Shaking their hand confirms this as well. This simple gesture gives the first impression you want to talk to them.
- Learn Something Unique: I use this tool even when the conversation is going to be short. Make a point to learn something unique about them and then remember. Maybe your like me and need to write it down. Next time you see this person bring up this information. It will be very meaningful to them that you cared enough to remember. Examples: Work place, School they attended, kids names, favorite sports team.
- Ask Questions: It’s impossible to connect if you’re the only one talking. Get to know them if they are willing to talk about their life. Be careful here not to trap them in the conversation with too many questions. Again be sensitive to their time.
- Let Them Steer the Conversation: Find common ground in your conversation but do not monopolize the topics. If you find a groove in a topic do not change it unless they do. It can be a misunderstanding that you do not care about their topic or them. It can feel disconnecting when someone changes the subject to quickly.
I hope these tips are able to help you. Especially if you are an introvert like myself, you still can be good at connecting. It takes time and practice. Might have to experience several awkward conversations until you get it down. But when you do, you will be able to reach your potential with connecting.
I would love to hear of any other tips you may use to help connecting with people. Feel free to use the comment section below.
If you are ever in the Durham NC area and is looking for genuine people who care. Come check out STORYCHURCH. We have intentionally made it an art of connecting with people.