People interact with one another every day. Whether in business or home life, handshakes require two people, errand runs often require someone to be on the other side of the counter, and these interactions create a symbiotic relationship, a gain, or a loss.
However, the real key to any successful interaction is connection.
But how you do establish a good connection?
1. Make Use of that First Impression
Bottom line: First impressions matter. When you’re meeting someone for the first time in a meeting, interview, party, or any other situation, the way you immediately present yourself to the other person will be the way they will perceive you.
It is around these initial perceptions that people will build their memories and further their opinions of you.
You can use this to your advantage. Think about how you want to be perceived, and start shaping the sentences and body language that you would use to create that perception in other people’s minds. If you’ve worked in business before, you probably know about the “elevator speech” concept. If you had only a short elevator ride with someone, what would you say to them to make them think highly and properly of you?
Practice those lines. Maybe even drag a friend into an elevator with you to see if your elevator speech is quick and effective. The lines may be rehearsed, but the more you know them, the easier and more naturally they will roll off your tongue and create the desired first impression.
2. Learn to be Vulnerable
Yikes! That V-word often has us tripping over ourselves and putting walls around our personal situations and emotions. While there are other ways to easily connect with people, vulnerability creates more reliable, rapid, and personal connection.
Most healthy relationships are built on a balance of give and take, and one person may not expose their vulnerabilities until the other does so first. In this case, it’ll be up to you to create the environment in which true connection can happen.
And this means…you’re going first.
That’s right. Be the first person to open up and share. Your candidness and sincerity will allow the others to feel more comfortable, which in turn will allow them to feel comfortable sharing personal things with you.
3. Put Forth the Effort
Truly connecting with people requires effort. Again, it’s a give-and-take scenario, but if it’s you who initially wants to connect, it’s all going to be about giving.
Showing an active interest goes a long way, and if you assume that a person is going to like you, odds are they probably will. When people just assume they will be welcomed and accepted, their interactions become warmer and more sincere, and it’s that warmth and sincerity that people look for in a personal connection with another human being.
This works for strangers, and is useful in business where trust and connection can be more challenging. But those challenging scenarios are not lost causes.
If you’re finding it difficult to connect with someone, find something you like about him or her. There is something, and when you find it, feel free to compliment them on it. (Please use good judgment about this.)
Maybe they’re great at organization, or their people skills are something to be envied. Be sincere in your compliments and you’ll soften the tension, and maybe even get them to reconsider their initial perception of you.
Asking for advice is another way to help someone reconsider forming a better connection with you. Most people need to be needed in some capacity, and asking advice of someone creates an interaction that is not only beneficial now, but an interaction that can be drawn upon again later in the future.
Use these techniques for building connections, and notice how the dynamics between you and other people begin to change for the better. Building good connections is well worth the work. Try it and see for yourself.