7 Simple And Straight Forward Ways To Connect More Effectively

07.03.2019 | Blog

Wanting to feel noticed, acknowledged, and heard is something most of us can relate to.  So, you’d think it would be really easy to make others feel like we care, are listening, and that they matter.  Not so fast!  For one reason or another many of us have trouble connecting – with our peers, colleagues, acquaintances, and even friends.

So let’s do something about this and brush up on how to engage, and create a great big chain of inclusive acknowledgment.  If you practice these really simple and straight-forward skills you’ll not only make the people you come in contact with feel validated, you’ll find you feel more validated too:

MAKE EYE CONTACT – Have you ever encountered someone who has trouble looking you in the eye?  What kind of impression does that make on you?  Regardless of someone’s accomplishments, knowledge, or personality, if they can’t manage to make eye contact with you, they appear self-conscious, not confident, and timid – not adjectives anyone would take kindly to.  The good news is that it’s such a simple skill – just look at people in their eyes when you speak to them – not their nose or their feet – their eyes; it’s the first step to connection.  (We promise you won’t turn to stone.)

SMILE – Picture this – you are presenting your work to a conference table full of colleagues; as you look around the room you’re met with blank stares and unresponsive expressions.  It’s a really lousy feeling.  Don’t be scared – go on and show off those pearly whites!  Smiling not only puts people at ease, it’s contagious; getting those same people to smile as you make your case will increase your connection with them, as well as your confidence level and feelings of accomplishment. 

KEEP YOUR ARMS OPEN – Even though it’s usually not our intention, crossing our arms tends to indicate to others that we’re closed off or even angry.  With your arms at your sides you’re engagement-ready.  If avoiding crossing your arms is a struggle out of habit, try utilizing your pockets initially – it’s a good way to get your arms accustomed to staying at your sides.

ALIGN YOUR BODY – Just like open arms encourage people to come your way, positioning your body in the same direction as those you’re interacting with conveys interest and openness.

FOCUS – Really listen to what others are saying.  This skill is invaluable – in your personal life and during work hours – especially when interacting with clients.  Don’t try to fake focus though – disingenuous is another adjective you definitely don’t want near your name.

ENGAGE IN DIALOGUE – The most powerful way to connect is by asking someone a question about themselves – especially if you’re following up on a comment they already expressed.  This not only shows that you’re listening, others feel that you actually care about them and are interested in what they have to say.

COMPLIMENT – It’s not about buttering up the lady you’re standing next to at the cocktail party.  It’s about making a genuine statement, and consequently making someone else feel good because of that statement.  If someone is a great storyteller, has a beautiful accent, or is wearing amazing shoes, let them know!  If a new colleague is sporting the world’s most hideous tie on the other hand, don’t compliment it; but if you sincerely like his briefcase, give the compliment a whirl.   It’s a great starting point.