3 Ideas for Connecting with Others

Leadership ConnectionYesterday at Church – during that time when you greet everyone around you – I shook hands with six people. As I sat back down I couldn’t recall one of their names.

I think Rick (or was it Rich?) was sitting next to me. I shook hands with him first, then I turned to introduce my wife, but she was shaking hands with someone else, whom I greeted next (still thinking about Rick – or Rich). This cycle repeated itself for the next three people, then the music started and I went to sit – realizing as I was half way down that I had blown off the husband of the last person I “met” so I whirled around to meet him before taking my seat.

Granted, I was a little preoccupied thinking about the flat tire I had to fix after the service (another story), but contrast this with my experience meeting Chris Brogan on Friday. I use the term “meeting” loosely. I talked with him for a few seconds during a book signing. Literally it was a few seconds – twenty tops – yet later that day I got the following message via twitter:

Ridiculous. I never gave Chris my twitter name. He had to dig a little (not a lot, but a little) to find me and take the time to connect. I realize Chris is known for his ability to genuinely connect with people, but I was still impressed.

I believe that I care about people deeply. If that’s true then why can I remember when the Magna Carta was signed, but can’t remember your name after a few seconds. I have a hunch it has to do with focus. Here are a few things I’m going to consciously work on:

1. Orienting on People. I usually approach my day from a task-oriented perspective. I have things I want to accomplish, a to-do list, goals, deadlines, etc. What if I approached my day from a people-oriented perspective. What if as I thought about my day on the way to work, I thought about the people I would be interacting with, the relationships I would be beginning, strengthening, building.

2. Seeing People. What if I saw every human being I encountered for what they really are – a miracle and a mess. A unique and valuable story. A pitiful bag of pettiness and excuses. Someone’s parent or child or friend. Someone’s rival, bully, or enemy. Every one of us is a sack of fears and dreams and doubts and desires and grudges and hopes and hates and loves. What if I took a moment to see that.

3. Being with People. What I if I truly met the people I met. What if I intentionally shifted my attention from my favorite subject (i.e. me) and put it on the person I am with in any given moment. What if I did this so well that I actually forgot about myself entirely – my goals, my agenda, my reputation, my dreams, my fears, my ambitions.

Have you ever been overwhelmed by someone’s sincerity in meeting you? Who was it and how did they do it?

What do you do – or want to do – to connect with people on a deeper level?

photo credit AndyRob

11 thoughts on “3 Ideas for Connecting with Others”

  1. Thank you for the post. I often have to remind myself to focus on the people and not just on the task and my agenda. It’s easy for me to look past the person and focus on what I want to accomplish.

    1. I’m the same way, Maurilio. I’m counting it victory that I’m starting to realize this more in the moment, as I’m doing it – so I can adjust.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Great post. This sometimes happen to me. When I go to some public conference, I just forget the name of the people even after they individually introduce themselves to me.

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