The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. – William James
1. Seek and you will find – Social media has made connecting with people easy, but it is only one method. The art of face to face meetings is fading. Meeting at the coffee shop or a community group meeting has given way to an LOL or smilie face. To truly connect, see the person and talk with them face to face. You can learn so much more about a person and also be able to see the non-verbal language they are speaking.
So go out and meet people. Don’t just stare at the screen waiting for someone to IM(instant message) you.
2. Put the stereotypes away – In the first 5 seconds when someone sees you they have an image in their mind of what type of person you are, what you may sound like, and even if they should even talk to you. Put these thoughts away. These will stop you from truly meeting great people. Barriers are not just architectural blocks to access, they are thoughts and past experiences that can taint how we approach a given situation and how we meet others.
Famous people are typically not born famous. They become famous partly because of their own talent, but mostly because someone connected with them to see the talent and then share it with others.
3. Research – If you’re networking, or applying for a job, or just meeting someone new, do some research. If you know nothing about the person or position or reason why you’re trying to connect, then there is no connection. Dating is a connection, before you meet in person you usually ask questions of them or someone that introduced you. Finding something to talk about gets things going.
If you’re interviewing or networking, knowing something about the company helps. It tells the other person that you are interested in them. Not just another person who just applies because they are unemployed. Research tells the other person or business know you care and gives them a reason to want know more about you.
4. Do the unexpected – Before being asked to do something, offer to do it. There are times we know someone is going to ask us to do something and we cringe and hope they don’t ask. You can make a real connection with someone when you offer your time to someone else.
Here is another way to think about it. In your last office meeting the boss asks for a volunteer for a project. Does you hand raise right away or is everyone in the room looking at someone else? While some might say volunteering makes you look like you’re sucking up to the boss. The short answer may be yes, but others will take notice. Don’t we all seek a chance for advancement?
5. Listening – As much as we want to be heard, one of the best ways to connect with people is just to listen. Think of those who have been their for you. Think about it for a moment. Wasn’t one of the things you liked most was when they just listened to what you had to say? Stop for a moment and just listen to someone. Don’t try to think of what you are going to say next or try to finish what the other person has to say. Just listen. When the other person knows you are truly listening, you will earn their trust and truly connect.
Connecting is not easy, but when you work at it people will want to connect with you. Alter their attitudes of who they thought you were and who you are.