In our last post, we talked about three connecting signals that help us determine whether we are being able to connect with other people or not. We also touched on how connecting is all about others. So how can we be more effective connecting with others?
Let’s consider three main strategies to connect with people:
First, connect VISUALLY:
In her TED talk “Your body language shapes who you are”, Amy Cuddy describes the importance of posture and body language. An open posture displays confidence. Just as a huge podium can be an obstacle between a speaker and the audience, or a big desk can be an obstacle between the boss and the employee, a negative body language can be an obstacle between you and others.
You also want to move with a sense of purpose and avoid distracting movements; have you watched speakers shaking coins in their pockets? That displays insecurity and makes your audience nervous…
To connect visually, you need to expand your range of expression; avoid a “poker face”. Have you watched the expressions of great speakers? They smile! Something that made an impression on me about a speaker I heard once, was that she smiled always, not just during the speech; I believe that small detail made her successful connecting with her audience. When it comes to range of expression, sometimes you need to do more to be more effective. Use expression as an active listening skill: sending signals of empathy and understanding.
Second, you want to connect INTELLECTUALLY:
Is your message relevant to your audience? Do they understand what you are talking about? Talk from experience: any message you try to convey to others must contain a piece of you, so use personal stories!
Finally, you want to connect EMOTIONALLY:
Feel what you say, live according to it and have passion for the topic. People may forget your words, but they will always remember how you made them feel…
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How can I add value to others?
- How can I increase the value I feel for others?
- How can I establish an emotional bond with others?
So, remember, it is not what we say but how we say it. As John Maxwell said: “People may hear your voice, but they feel your attitude”, and “The more you do to go beyond words, the greater the chance you will connect with people”.