Many people are far more concerned about being disconnected from their Wi-Fi than the human being right in front of their face. As a species, we have never been more ‘connected’, yet we are seeing a massive spike in anxiety, loneliness and self-doubt. People are spending their days in the pursuit of likes and followers as a form of social currency. They are outsourcing their self worth and in doing so losing the ability to connect, on a human level, with their fellow walkers of the planet.
Simple social skills that were previously developed at the dinner table, canteen and classroom are now dissipating rapidly.
Step one in all communications is connection. Always! Whether you are selling a new product, making a presentation, on a date, or at an interview, you must connect with the person in front of you if you are to have any chance of succeeding.
Connection builds trust and trust builds relationships. This is a bona fide fact in the games of business and life. A leader who has not connected with his staff cannot truly lead. A speaker, who has not connected with their audience, cannot get their message across. A sales person who has not connected with their customer is merely wasting oxygen. Before they ever buy your product, they will make a decision on you as a person. If you have not managed to gain their trust and make a human connection, it will not matter if you have the recipe for KFC, Coca Cola and cocaine. They are not listening and just want you out of their air supply.
Before any of you start stopping me in the street, I don’t have the recipes. I can however show you some simple ways to connect with other humans. This is as applicable when buying your morning coffee as it is when speaking to an audience of two hundred people. I would encourage you to practice these in low risk encounters with friends, baristas and shop assistants. Hone your skills, so when you really need them, you can knock it out of the park.
Focus on Them and Not You
Find out why they do what they do and what motivates them to do so. What are their passions and hobbies? If you ask the right questions and leave them to talk, you are in business. I met a man last week whose passion was movies and his whole physiology changed when I gave him the opportunity to talk about Martin Scorsese.
Smile and Use their Name
So simple, yet still so under-used. I’ll move along.
Scan their Environment
If they are in their home or place of work, there will be clues everywhere as to what is important to them. Family photos, expensive watches, sports memorabilia or their apparel are always fertile soil. You are then straight into conversation based on this. Watch people change when you ask them about their kids. If you can remember their kid’s name the next time you meet them…check mate.
Find the Magic Slice
This is something I learned from the people at All Good Tales. If you can find the intersection between what you want to say and what your audience wants to hear, you have struck oil. This is the ‘magic slice’ and a vital component of connection.
Too much about you and they switch off. Too much about them and you cannot convey your message. As a rule of thumb, I always start with them. Once the connection is built you will have plenty of time to discuss your ideas with a captive audience.
Like all rare commodities, the ability to connect with other humans will become a much sought-after trait in the not-so-distant future. Start honing your skills in low risk environments and your stock will rise massively in the marketplace.
Ciao for now, John
Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 086 3919952