It has been said that you can tell a lot about a person based on how they interact with different people. This is why I have great respect for my friend and mentor, John C. Maxwell. He is known for saying, “My name is John, and I am your friend.”
There is no pretense, no waving of credentials (though he has plenty), no class distinctions. There are just people everywhere who need a friend.
John is a great speaker and communicator, mainly because he is first a great connector. John’s book Everyone Communicates Few Connect is filled with wisdom for learning how to connect with others.
In a world where we are “connected” 24/7, we are more “disconnected” than ever.
Here are some ways you can connect with your friends, family, team, and community.
1. Create an experience everyone enjoys.
“Connectors create an experience everyone enjoys.” – John C. Maxwell
A good intentioned father-in-law decided to give his daughter and son-in-law a gift. He spent a great deal of money on a weekend concert. The problem was, neither of them wanted to go. They didn’t know the groups playing, they didn’t like being outdoors in the heat, and they really didn’t want to have to spend the entire weekend there after an exhausting week of work. But they felt obligated. Instead of giving a gift they would both enjoy, he had simply spent a lot of money on something no one really wanted to attend.
Had he observed and listened to their likes and dis-likes, he would have known this was not a good fit.
Contrast that to the mother-in-law who planned a Christmas vacation for her large and extended family. She took the time to think of each person in advance and to plan activities that would appeal to each one – coloring books with paints and stickers for the I-wired, books for reading for the S- and C-wired, a cozy blanket by a fireplace for the S-wired, a chess board for the deep thinking C-wired individuals, and outdoor activities for those D-wired family members who loved adventure. She also took the time to consider food preferences for each person and to notify the staff of ways they could help to make each person’s stay special.
The end result: Every family member came away having enjoyed the family event immensely, each in his or her own way.
The next time you are planning an event for your family, friends, team, or community, consider it in the context of D-I-S-C and plan something for each type.
2. Inspire people.
“Inspire people to do things they never thought they could.” – Steve Jobs
In his book, John talks about this concept. If you want to connect with someone, inspire them to do something they didn’t think they could. This is why coaching and mentorship is so rewarding – you get to help people find themselves and do things they did not dream were possible. This creates true connection.
3. Know and understand people.
“If you’re going to connect, people need to know that you understand them.” – John C. Maxwell
There are people who have built thriving businesses on this one concept: they know and understand their customers.
Why is this important?
Because if you truly know and understand your customers, you will never have to sell them anything. They will sell themselves into what you offer.
If you have ever been on the prospect end of a sales conversation and had the thought that they weren’t listening to you, you know exactly why this connection point matters.
Selling is really a matter of learning of a need and finding a way to fill it. It is listening to understand.
4. Communicate beyond words.
“Be sure your communication goes beyond words. How can you do that? By connecting on four levels: visually, intellectually, emotionally, and verbally.” – John C. Maxwell
We tend to think of communication as dialogue, where two people are exchanging thoughts and ideas via hearing and speaking. But as John so wisely indicates, communication is connecting on four levels, not just two. Yes, it is speaking and hearing; but it is also showing visible interest in the person and conversation. It is participating with your mind – asking good questions. It is genuinely caring about the person and what they are saying.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who is listening but is looking around, multi-tasking, saying hello to people as they pass by, or glancing at their watch or smart phone? What does that say to you?
It says, “They don’t really care.”
Do you feel connected to them based on this “conversation?”
Now for the hard question…have YOU ever been that person?
Good communication may not come naturally to you; but it can be an acquired skill. You can start with communicating on these four levels.
There are so many other great tips in Everyone Communicates Few Connect. I challenge you to read them and put one a week into active practice. You’ll be amazed at the results!
For more resources on how you can better communicate and connect, click here to learn about the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.