“The ability to communicate, and form meaningful connections with others, will bring you success in business, and deep fulfillment in life.”
Creating meaningful connections requires three key things: 1. The knowledge on how to connect. 2. Setting an intention to connect. 3. Taking action.
I’ve been in the business of connecting with people for almost twenty years. As I get older, I realize that the ability to communicate, and form meaningful connections with others, will bring you success in business, and deep fulfillment in life.
I’m now going to share with you ten key tips on creating deep, and meaningful connections with anyone.
1. Listen and Ask Questions
You must talk less, listen more, and ask questions. A great way to let the individual know that you’re attentively listening is to repeat back what they have said. For example: “Shelly, you just mentioned you’re interested in art. What style of art do you feel most passionate about?” If you want to connect, talk less, listen more, ask questions, and reaffirm what the other person has said.
2. Be on the Lookout for Common Ground
Communication comes from the Latin word “communis” meaning common. How do you find common ground? Well, by asking the individual meaningful questions. When you find similarities, call them out by saying something like “Wow, David, I knew we were the same! I love _____ too!”
3. Share Your Failures and Admit Your Weaknesses
I’m going to tell you a secret, as much as everyone wants to hear about your sub three-hour marathon (nobody) they’d much rather hear about the struggles you encountered during your training, and the race. We’re all human, and we all have weaknesses; don’t be afraid to be real and talk openingly about yours.
4. Treat Everyone Like They are a 10!
I love this one, it comes from the great connector John C. Maxwell. You are never going to connect with someone that you think is subpar; talk to the person, not above them. Everyone you meet, treat them with the attention, respect, and enthusiasm that comes from the belief that you’re encountering someone that’s a 10!
5. Include Others in Your Best Moments
People love to feel like insiders! Like you’re including them in something special! A great way to accomplish this is: make a list of special events that happen to you throughout the week. At the end of the week, take a special friend out, and relive all your best moments with them!
6. Set an Intention to Lift Others
This all comes down to setting intentions. When you’re having a conversation, set an intention to sincerely compliment, inspire, and express, what you admire about that person. I’m not sure why we keep all this goodness locked deep inside. I always keep this famous quote by Maya Angelou top of mind:
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
If you have a chance to communicate with someone, lift them up!
7. Be the First to Help
We live in a time where our lives are so dang good, that we rarely ask for help, and because of this, our sense of community is suffering. Don’t ask if your friend needs help, simply say “what time are you moving? I’ll be over to help.” People rarely ask for help these days, so don’t offer, tell them you’ll see them 11am to help move their couch.
8. Express Meaningful Gratitude
Say thank-you, and don’t forget to say, “you’re welcome.” But, expressing gratitude needs to be more meaningful than that, it needs to be specific to the person. I said to my mother one day, “mom, I hate folding socks. Thank-you for folding our socks for all those years and never complaining.” It was a simple phrase, but it was specific and meaningful. Be on the lookout to express meaningful gratitude daily.
9. Go Deep
One of the biggest regrets that people have at the end of their lives is that they did not experience deep, fulfilling relationships. So, what does it take to foster deep relationships? It takes consistent communication and setting the intention to get to know the person. When was the last time someone asked you if you were happy? When was the last time someone asked you if you thought your job was fulfilling? You need to have those deep conversations. I love these questions from John C. Maxwell that evoke emotion and go deep:
What do you dream about? What do you sing about? What do you cry about?
If someone happens to get emotional during a conversation, don’t try to diffuse it; sit in the emotion with them. Oprah is the master of connection and practises this often.
10. Relationships are a Two-Way Street
In modern culture, loneliness has become an epidemic. One in two Americans report they sometimes or always feel isolated and alone. In relationships, you’re only going to get back what you put out, so you must make yourself available. Don’t sit, waiting for someone to call, pick up the phone, and start the conversation. Ask a friend out to coffee, write someone on Instagram. You must make yourself available to connect and be an active participant in your relationships. Since many people do not know how to foster deep relationships, you must be a leader and model this for others.
If you gleaned anything from this article, I hope it’s that creating meaningful connections is not automatic. We need to set intentions, make ourselves available, and create opportunity to connect daily.
If you would like to start creating meaningful connections here is your Action Plan:
for the next ten days, make a commitment to implement a different tip from this list each day. If you start to make small changes over time, I guarantee that your life will be brimming with fulfillment!
I have provided you with the knowledge, but knowledge only becomes power when it’s implemented. If you want to create more meaningful connections and live a more engaged life, make a commitment to act today.
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