John C. Maxwell explains in his book “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently”:
“Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate with them in a way that increases your influence with them. And the ability to communicate and connect with others is a major determining factor in reaching your potential. To be successful, you must work with others. To do that at your absolute best, you must learn to connect”.
Let us be honest:
Between contacting, communicating and really connecting is a big difference
There is a huge difference between “communication” and “connection”. Communication is about content and connection is about relevance of that content and how it is perceived by others. Connecting with another person is more than merely communicating. It is about seeing the human being, trying to understand him, and establishing a deeper connection.
If you want to succeed as entrepreneur, you must learn how to connect with people. It certainly seems that some people are more gifted here, they have simply a natural way of connecting with others. They are open, interested, have empathy, and share about themselves. And they try to learn from their relationships. Some of them are real “people persons”, they enjoy being around others. Fact is, anyone can learn how to make every communication an opportunity for a powerful connection.
John C. Maxwell shares five principles and five practices to develop the necessary skills of connecting:
- Find common ground with others
- Keep your communication style simple
- Capture people’s interest
- Inspire people
- Stay authentic in your relationships
Connecting is a skill that you can learn! The ability to connect with others influences your personal development and in the end your success. But one thing is certainly missing here: Trust.
Leadership starts with influence and influence starts with trust
The ability to truly connect with others needs an environment where a leader gives his trust to others.
The business rule no. 1 reads: Trust begins with us! – Karin Sebelin
There are people who when trying to connect with others, show their strength, competence and skills. This is a kind of instinct. Leaders who project strength before establishing trust run the risk of eliciting fear.
One of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs and leaders is to create an ecosystem where people feel welcome.
Prioritizing a warm atmosphere helps us to connect with people around us
Warmth is the conduit of influence, it facilitates trust, engagement, and communication. Exchanging a few small signals – a friendly nod, a smile, an open gesture – can show people that you’re pleased to be in their company.
Warmth trumps strength!
The best way to gain influence is to combine warmth and strength
Strength or competence can be established by the virtue of your position, your reputation, and your actual performance. When we remain calm, authentic, have confidence and have some humility for others, we are more convincing than showing an exaggerated correct behavior, trying to convince with pride and arrogance and looking down on the other person. Emphasizing the own strength, competence and credentials in the workplace and being too convinced about the own personality and expertise destroys human relationships and “nips every chance for an interesting connection in the bud”.
WHAT YOU SHOULD LEARN
Most of us work hard to demonstrate competence. But this can backfire!
If you show no warmth for people, beware of those who may try to derail your efforts, and maybe your career. Warmth can’t be faked. To project warmth, you have to genuinely feel it.
When you want to be taken seriously, stand up straight, and feel powerful like a happy warrior:
“Stand up straight and realize who you are, that you tower over your circumstances.” – Maya Angelou
Standing tall is a good way to project strength, because it doesn’t interfere with warmth.