How to connect with people


No person is an island. We need to be connecting with various people all the time in our personal as well as official lives. There is no such thing as the right people to connect to. Everybody has some role to play and a contribution to make in their own spheres of life that can have an impact on ours too at the most unexpected times. Therefore reaching out and connecting with people is universal should be a continuous process.

On the personal side, its much easier to see who connects better with people than some others. Call it whatever you like: empathy, a genuine interest in others, body language, eye contact, poise, self-assurance, tactfulness, transparency and integrity; there is no doubt that all or some of these traits make some people better connectors with their counterparts than others who lack such attributes. They apply just the same whether it is to do with your personal lives or in the fostering of good social, cultural, business or political relationships.

Tom Peters, the author of “In Search of Excellence” and many other international best sellers, believes that women generally connect with people better than men. Does that mean that women would make better liaison officers, leaders and the like for businesses and all types of important projects? Going by the famous women who have, or who still continue to dominate the American scene with their highly influential and successful roles in social, public and international affairs at the highest levels like Condoleezza Rice, Hilary Clinton, Ophra Winfrey and Angelina Jolie, just to name a few, bear adequate testimony to its truth.

5 Steps for Connecting Effectively with People:

 Take the Initiative to Move Towards People:
Most people tend to stay in a shell due to fear of being rejected, or lack self-confidence and a vision. You need to drive away their fears, and arouse them into action in order to tap their true potential.

Ask the right questions to encourage them to come out with their thoughts and aspirations. By so doing, you can indiscreetly help them to release their pent-up emotions and frustrations, for which they will become more attached and endeared to you.

Doing a favor to a person initially can clinch many favors in return later.

“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar, the American salesperson, author and motivational speaker.

 Searching for Common Interests and Getting Familiar:
Starting a chat on a topic of common interest or at least one of possible or known interest to the targeted person is a very effective approach to drawing a person out of its shell to the open. Once the ice is broken, let he or she be the star speaker; and you, only the enthralled listener. You have to cherish other person’s desire to express him or herself over and above your urge to drive home your own high points. When it comes to your turn to do the talking, maybe at a later time, the other party is certain to reciprocate, and give you a better hearing.

When you next meet the other party, address him or her by the first name and strike up a conversation concerning a past incident in that person’s life drawing from some past conversation between you and that person. When people see that you care about, and remember even their trivial matters, they are likely to respond more warmly and appreciatively towards you.

 Communicate from Your Heart:
People are bound to be repelled from you if you appear to be insincere, and/or not what you speak. You need to align your deeds with your words in order to be authentic and not appear as a phony.

Its human nature to respond to passion; and you can really touch other people’s hearts when your communication comes from your heart. Keep to your promises. Always try to give something more than you promise, and never less. You can build good rapport this way. It will form a good platform from which to launch your own proposals when the time comes with far better prospects of striking deals and reaching consensus and even impossible agreements.

 Share in Common Experiences:
A leader participating in unofficial and extra curricular activities and social activities like indoor and outdoor sporting events, picnics, trips, parties with the employees and particularly of the lower rung workers, can build good relationships cemented with mutual trust and respect, sooner. Such acts foster loyalty and commitment from others to the cause the leader represents. It helps enhance team spirit and rapport making communication and passing down instructions more effective and result oriented.

If you happen to give them a treat, order their favorite menus and dishes. When you have a singsong, be the first to break out with the songs that they like. Make pleasurable references to shared past incidents that you had enjoyed together, or battles you had fought together, whether in official or unofficial capacities.

Don’t criticize others in their absence. Even when charges are brought up against someone who is not present, be the first to rise up in defense and clear that person of all blame until that person is given an opportunity to clear him or herself. Showing in deed and word your sincerity, loyalty, concern and oneness with others strike sensitive chords closer to their hearts as well as those of others who hear of your acts; making them too react positively towards you in like manner.

 Acknowledge and Respect Opposing Points of View:
When you display tolerance and respect for diverse personalities and points of view, and try to accommodate people on their own terms, they too will try to reciprocate to your sensitivity, well-balanced approach and open-mindedness. In a business environment, this will foster mutual tolerance and respect for opposing ideas and views resulting in fewer confrontations with the achievement of a higher level of mutual understanding and greater peace and harmony for all. Be open to receiving and acting on feedbacks. People will always reciprocate and appreciate you when you show your appreciation of them. Encourage suggestions and constructive criticism from all quarters. Many business organizations encourage think tanks even among their lower rung employees. Some keep suggestion and complaint boxes at vantage points for anybody to contribute openly or in anonymity. Never scoff at even the seemingly silliest suggestion; there will be some idea even of little value behind most contributions from which the company may benefit. Be eager to search out for those needles of bright ideas from the haystacks and appreciate them; while openly rewarding the really good ones. Many innovations and groundbreaking improvements in industry have come about through ideas contributed by employees. These are the gifts of connecting with people positively.

Even in your personal relationships, give everybody a patient hearing and an opportunity to express themselves. What they speak reveal their sense of values. You don’t necessarily have to share in their values in their entirety; but you’ll find certain areas where you can compromise or agree on. Clarify and probe further where necessary. Don’t hesitate to apologize for any omission or mistake on your part. All these go to build solid foundations for human connectivity to prosper. Only people can make extraordinary things to happen!

Nevertheless, the main reason for most humans failing to connect well with others is due to being more concerned with being understood by others than with a genuine effort to understand others. If these priorities can be reversed, we can expect to see a big improvement in the communications and connectivity among all peoples of the world.

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