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8 Insanely Effective Ways To Connect With Anyone You Meet

8 Insanely Effective Ways To Connect With Anyone You Meet

It all starts with connection. Connection is how friendships begin, how love grows, and how we support other on life’s journey. Connection helps us to be better lovers and better parents. It enables us to make more of an impact in people’s lives and greatly enriches our own lives. Connection allows us to grow in our careers — if we can connect with others, we can close the deal, encourage our coworkers, and communicate more effectively.

Connecting with others and building a tribe of encouraging, supportive, passionate people is incredibly essential to an awesome life.

Connecting with people who are similar to us is relatively easy. When we have common interests and personalities, we “get” each other. Making connections with people who are very different from us, however, is sometimes quite challenging. Yet it’s important to be able to connect with people who have different strengths than we do.

Here are 8 ways to connect with anyone you meet.

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1. Pay attention

When someone is talking to you, listen. Period. When you don’t listen, it makes the other person feel like you don’t care. If you’re not sure about your listening skills, ask friends and family if they feel like you listen when you have conversations with them.

When you’re listening, make eye contact. When you look away frequently, check your phone, or scan the room when someone’s talking to you, it appears that you’re not listening and you destroy the conversation.

2. Seek feedback

To improve your ability to instantly connect with others, seek feedback on your communication skills. One great way to do this is to join a speaking group such as Toastmasters. Toastmasters groups give you opportunities to speak and get helpful feedback from group members regarding your message delivery, body language, and pace. By learning how to be a more effective speaker, you will be on your way to connecting with others.

3. Ask questions

In every conversation, focus on getting to know the other person. People love to talk about themselves. Have you ever met someone and thought, “Wow, that person is awesome” and realized you hardly learned anything about him or her? Chances are, it’s because that person was focused on getting to know you — you were likely asked a lot of questions and spend a good amount of time happily talking about yourself. Be the person in the conversation who asks the questions. Allow others to open up to you and share about themselves.

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If you know ahead of time who you’ll be meeting with, do some research to learn about them. This can add depth to your questions and improve your connection.

4. Remember their name

We’ve all met people who say “I’m so bad with names.” That’s not a good way to start forming a connection. Do your best to remember the names of the people you meet. Repeat their name several times, associate it with something memorable or funny (in your head), introduce them to others so you need to state their name out loud — whatever you need to do to remember their name, do it! Remembering who you’re talking to is a key to making them feel important and connect with them.

5. Don’t pretend you know everything

In this article, Graham Young describes the difficulty people have with this concept. He writes, “When talking with others, we often want to show that we are educated and knowledgeable. It can be hard for some people to admit they are learning something new for the first time.” He describes how many leaders have a hard time taking advice because they feel they should know everything, and that employees try hard to prove themselves and not expose any of their personal weaknesses.This combination can cause communication breakdown because neither side acknowledges what the other side tells them. When this connection is dysfunctional, growth and progress are limited. Graham’s advice is to be aware of your ego and work on preventing it from controlling how you behave. Be willing to learn from others and take advice.

When you converse with others, don’t pretend you know everything about everything. It turns people off and decreases your ability to connect with them.

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6. Care about others

Nothing else really matters if you don’t act like you care about those around you. Add value to their lives. Go out of your way to help them. Be encouraging, positive, uplifting, and supportive. Say thank you for small things and big things. Whether you send a text, call them, write a note, or give a gift, frequently thank others for helping you and for who they are in general. People love feeling appreciated and cared about.

7. See a room full of friends

When you enter a room, picture everyone there as friends to meet instead of strangers. This will decrease the intimidation factor. Plus, if you’re showing up at the same event or know some of the same people, you probably have something in common with them. Greet them as if they are friends.

8. Connect in person

In today’s world, you can definitely start connecting with others online, but nothing beats getting together in person. Get out from behind your desk and spend time with people at your favorite inspiring places.

Connecting with people can greatly change your life and the lives of others.

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My challenge for you today is to make an effort to connect with someone — then send me a note at kerry@yourstreamlinedlife.com and tell me how it went.

Featured photo credit: Smile because you want to/Rory MacLeod via flickr.com

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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