Through life we have to connect with all sorts of people from all walks of life. Family, friends, co-workers, superiors, supermarket workers, service staff, and so the list goes on.
Sometimes we connect really well with people, and other times it feels like something is lacking.
On those occasions where you have trouble connecting – who do you hold responsible?
Chances are, you hold the other person responsible. Maybe they just aren’t as intelligent as you are. Or witty. Or funny.
However, if you are able to meet with every person where they are at. Whether they are the smartest person or the dimmest. If you are able to connect with them. And make them feel seen and heard, then that is the test of real intelligence, more than anything else.
When you meet someone new, instead of thinking “is this person worth my time”, turn it around, and think “How can I connect? What do they care about?”
Here are some tips to make it easy to connect with absolutely anyone:
1. Ask open-ended questions
Most people love to talk about themselves, and topics they are passionate about. If you can get them to talk about what they care about, they will usually come alive.
Ask questions that can’t be answered with a yes or no answer.
2. Ask a follow up question
Show that you are really listening and interested by asking a great follow up question. Ask questions that ask for more than just information – but for analysis, reflection and engagement.
3. Watch your body language
Display that you are interested and engaged by your body language.
Lean in, make eye contact, smile and nod (without overdoing it of course).
Non-verbal cues are a huge part of our language. And show that we are genuinely interested.
4. Be present, and give presence
The greatest way to make a connection with someone else is to be fully present. Not thinking about grocery shopping, or your next meeting, or your weekend plans. But listening fully and openly with interest and respect.
“Connection starts long before the first interaction. Be the guy glowing with passion. Let the people around you feel your fire for the impact you want to have on the world. Prompt others to share what makes them come alive. Share in their excitement. There is no more empowering, genuine way to connect. If you don’t know the impact you dream of making, how will you know who you want in your corner to make it happen?”