The power of connecting with those around you is a key element in succeeding in business, at work and in life. If we can’t build trusting and productive relationships, our journey will be more like a struggle. Do you find some people are harder to connect with than others? The good news is, anyone can learn to increase their ability to form strong and enduring connections. Like many things in life, it starts with being a confident communicator.
Images: At Edmiston Jones we connect with our collaborators near and far, our heritage, our elders and our colleagues.
In my online programs I talk about three areas to focus on if you want to form better connections.
Hairdressers and other types of service providers know this well. They make it their business to remember what you talked about last time, so they can raise it on your next visit to build an even stronger connection. “How was your trip to New Zealand?”, “Did Rachel end up getting into that course?”, “Are you feeling better after your accident?”.
Communication expert Leil Lowndes calls it Make people look forward to seeing you again. Her easy tip? After having a conversation with someone, make a note of what you chatted about that they enjoyed. Then refer to it next time you see them.
Making great eye contact isn’t new advice. It’s worth a reminder because not everyone does it well!
Looking directly into someone’s eyes (as opposed to a death stare or fixing them with a creepy gaze) opens up a communication connection at both a conscious and unconscious level. It also increases trust and shows you’re present in the situation.
How are you at making eye contact? Do a check-in next time you’re in a conversation. If this needs work, make a conscious effort to lock eyes even more and notice the difference it makes.
There are plenty of myths about body language. If someone folds their arms, they’re not necessarily aloof or uninterested. Maybe they’re cold, or it might be a comfortable way for them to sit!
However, many people have bought into these stories without knowing the broader context. So, pay attention to your own body language. Avoid folding your arms in case the other person gets the wrong message. If you can, turn your body slightly side-on rather than facing them head-on – this is specifically for building trust and connection – but keep your feet pointed towards them (this is a no-no in some countries so do your homework if travelling).
Images: We connect with the land we live on and our history, with each other and local associations.
People who can make deep connections get better opportunities and have richer relationships. Sounds like something worth practising!
Dr Neryl East is a highly qualified and experienced expert on media, communication, credibility and reputation. Neryl started as a cadet journalist in the environment of radio and moved to the world of television for ten years. After which she “crossed to the dark side” into corporate communication and also took to the microphone as an Olympic announcer. Moving into government, she thrived on the daily barrage of contentious issues and dramas that came her way. Neryl now works with leaders and teams who want to stand out, accelerate their success and avoid costly reputation mistakes.
Neryl has a Master of Arts and PhD in Journalism, and her book ‘The Headline Edge’ hit number one on Amazon in three countries. She is also a Certified Speaking Professional – an international designation awarded to only a small percentage of professional speakers globally.