‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel’
We all crave more deeper and powerful connections with those around us.
Connecting is not something you are born with -it is a skill that is constantly evolving.
It becomes the catalyst to emotional bondedness, positive energy, growing synergy and unguarded openness with others.
In Part 1 of our series on the Art of Connection, we discussed the principals to connect at a higher level:
- Listening Deeply & Being Curious
- Raw Vulnerability
- Being Engaged in the Moment
- Keeping your Promises to Others
- Keeping Promises to Yourself
For more details on these principles and exercises to incorporate into your daily habits, visit the blog called the Art of Connection – Part 1 in the link below:
On a personal note, I have learned (through mistakes and reflection) how to connect well with people, and it has transformed into one of my greatest strengths.
From a personal growth perspective, connecting at a deeper level allows me to…
- Build my self-esteem
- Be empathetic and respectful
- Value myself and stay true to my values
- Decrease stress levels and enhance emotional wellness
We live in an interesting time where distractions such as social media, the NEWS, toxic environments, and binge-watching have instilled fear, created uncertainty, and intensified stress & overwhelm. As a result, we have stopped or minimized our intentions to connect on a deeper level with others.
In order to take back control from being a victim of a world full of distraction…
My advice is to take the time to strengthen your current relationships.
Create new habits, that will fuel your energy and purify the toxic environment, that you may have built around you.
To get laser-focused on connecting with others on a deeper level, I encourage you to do a ‘Personal Progress Inventory’ to minimize distractions.
- For 30 days, turn off all notifications on your phone and other devices.
- Read or watch the NEWS only once a day for 10 minutes. The job of the NEWS is to scare you so you become addicted. The goal is to avoid speaking about NEWS topics as headliners when connecting with others.
- Stop starting or participating in gossip sessions (in person or online) as this is only a temporary fix for your own insecurities and fear.
This digital detox will allow time to focus on strengthening the connections around you and allow you to concentrate your energy on real-life interactions.
An impactful article from site www.verywellmind.com Called ‘What is a Digital Detox’ outlines the benefits and how it can improve not only your connections with others, but your relationship with yourself:
In order to feel connected in a world that seems disconnected on the surface, removing distractions will help you to become focused on creating meaningful connections.
Now that you have a greater awareness of how distractions can pull you away from establishing deeper, more authentic relationships…
Let’s look at ways to repair or eliminate that anxious feeling inside to become better versions of ourselves, so we can fortify our relationships with others.
‘Listening requires giving up our favorite human past time – involvement with ourselves and our self-interest’.-Sonja Hamlin
Research shows that people speak about 7000 words a day (there are many people who speak more than that).
What this statistic reveals is that we have mastered the art of talking.
Think about what this means to you. Those 7000 words you speak every day really defines who you truly are. These words dictate how people perceive you.
Take out your journal and ask yourself these 2 questions.
Track your answers for the next 30 days:
- During a conversation with a loved one, friend or work colleague ask yourself:
- How many of the words/sentences you spoke in that conversation made a positive impact?
- How many of those words/sentences served no purpose at all?
- How many words/ sentences were spoken with the intention of self-advocacy or to get what you wanted or to get your point across?
2. Reflect on how you can make your 7000 words a day more impactful so that they mean more to the other person.
- Do I need to listen more deeply?
- Should I ask more meaningful questions?
- Do I need to find more common ground in my conversations?
- Do I need to keep the conversations simpler?
- Do I need to take more responsibility for creating a great experience for the discussion?
- How many times did I interrupt?
- How many times did I inject my own experience or recommendations?
In Part 1 of this series, we discussed that listening deeply, being curious, and being vulnerable is critical to connecting.
But it appears that despite these tools and concepts, people find it much easier to do all of the talking because they expend too much energy listening and being curious by asking thoughtful questions.
In other words, deep listening takes too much energy and effort whereas talking is easy.
Connection is all about the other person – their interests, their emotional well-being, their successes, their challenges.
People who don’t want to make the effort, fail to realize the rewards that come from connecting with people.
Connecting with people increases energy levels in the relationship.
Having a conversation is different than connecting.
You need to be intentional about connecting, which means you need to put the effort into the conversation and more importantly understand that…
They live in their world – not yours!
Therefore, all of the major transformations that are going to happen, will happen in their world – from their perspective – not yours.
It’s not always about telling people what to do or sharing your deep insights and experiences. It’s about taking the time to understand what they know – what they are experiencing from their perspective.
Once you understand:
- Who they are
- Their values
- How they are feeling
- What they know
This is when the conversation takes a whole new form of energy and life.
If you walk away from a conversation fulfilled because it was all about you… this is not connecting.
Connecting as a leader, a parent or a friend should be intentional. Intentionality means the person leaves that conversation a better person, improving, growing, or with a tip or trick that might help them.
Or even better, that person comes out of the conversation being heard.
This is connecting with Purpose!
I recommend the following resource which will provide insight into understanding yourself before you can begin to connect with others. The book is called Personality Plus by Florence Littauer
2 Ways to be Intentional with Your Communications
To prepare for your next interaction with a colleague, friend, spouse, or child, set an intention to LEARN and an intention to HONOR.
Instead of sharing your own agenda or to do list, set an intention to learn about the other person.
It seems we have stopped learning from each other and instead become accusatory, angry, bitter, victims, or aggressive with our conversations.
It has become a place to vent our frustrations and we are looking for validation. Our conversations have become ‘broken records’ where like-minded people want validation for refusing to be positive.
Before a conversation, think about one thing you would like to learn about that person. Be curious.
Not for you, but for them.
People are actually starving for connection. They want to share their passions, interest, and feelings.
Master communicators are listening, observing, and asking about feelings – emotions.
Here are some deep questions that may elicit emotion:
- How did you feel about that?
- What were you feeling when that was happening?
- What does it feel like to be a…Parent? A CEO? On a Board of Directors?
Engaging and connecting with others is a willingness to learn about others with no personal strings attached.
2. Honoring & Acknowledging:
Set the intention before your ‘connection’ conversation to acknowledge the other person so they feel, validated, and appreciated.
I believe it is a privilege when I connect with someone on an emotional level. When they feel safe and will share who they are, vulnerabilities, interests, or passions.
Here are some examples of honoring and acknowledging in real time:
- That’s a great idea – Thank you for sharing.
- I’m really grateful that you shared that with me.
- I respect that you are participating right now.
- I am really thankful that we are having this conversation.
- I appreciate that you did this.
Honoring the other person so they feel heard, respected, and appreciated will help to strengthen your connection.
START CONNECTING WITH PURPOSE!
You can learn to connect on a deeper level because it is a skill, not a natural talent.
In summary, you can build deeper connections through:
- Eliminating distractions to become more intentional with building connections.
- Tracking how much you talk vs listen in a conversation.
- Being curious and discover one thing about someone during a conversation.
- Being Intentional with your communications through learning & acknowledging.
In this 2-part series on the Art of Connection, I have offered many exercises and tools to begin or enhance your ‘connection’ journey.
I highly recommend performing these exercises and setting intentions with your next conversations in your quest for deeper connections.
We are all works in progress and if we have the courage to change how we connect with others through less talking and more intentionality, our relationships will take a quantum leap.
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These tools will help you grow, reach higher heights so you can become the best version of you!
I sincerely wish you the best on your journey to enhance your life!
George Andreas, Founder