Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: Focusing on Others (1)

I joined a Mastermind group which is taking the book by the leadership guru John C. Maxwell called “Everyone Communicates Few Connect” and going through the book one chapter a week.    The first part of the book consists of 5 chapters on Connecting Principles, and the second part of the book consists of 5 chapters on Connecting Practices.

I am going to cover each chapter with one blog post, taking notes based on my reading of the chapter.    Rather than simply a summary of each chapter, I hope these notes will provide my own interpretation of the material, especially regarding the ways it applies to the various facets of my life where I am applying leadership (in church, in Toastmasters, as a project manager).    I hope to relate my experiences learning foreign languages and working in foreign countries to the subject of communication.


Chapter 2–Connecting Is All About Others

The first chapter was an introduction to the importance of connecting rather than just communicating.   The second chapter starts getting into the principles behind connecting with others.

1.   Great Expectations, and How Not to Meet Them

John Maxwell opens with the story of a tour guide.    John Maxwell was on a business trip to South America, and got to visit Machu Picchu, the mountaintop home of the ancient Incas that is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World.   He was so enamored with his visit, then he told his wife Margaret that he wanted to take her there on vacation.    He and his wife invited two of their closest friends along, and all four of them went to Machu Picchu  with great expectations of a trip that they looked forward to being one of the most memorable of their lifetimes.

Unfortunately, the tour guide Carlos conducted their tour like a robot, giving a canned speech that contained tons of minutiae, statistics, and other information that was mind-numbing in its quantity.    However, Carlos told no stories that would have engaged the group, and one by one, each of the members of the group peeled away from the boring lecture and decided to engage the landscape with their own eyes and their own mind, preferring that to the deadening experience of listening to a speech delivered in monotone syllables.

John Maxwell at one point looked back with a feeling of guilt for having abandoned the group, only to find that EVERYONE had abandoned Carlos, who was delivering the rest of his lecture to the empty air!    John Maxwell used Carlos as an example of how NOT to connect with people.   By analyzing what Carlos did wrong, John Maxwell got valuable clues on how to do it right.

2.   The Failure at Connection cuts across Professions

John Maxwell emphasized that it is not just CEOs that sometimes fail to connect.    Teachers and professional speakers can fail to connect as well.    An example of this was sent by John Maxwell’s friend Elmer Towns, a professor at Liberty University, who shared the following verses about self-centered teachers:

Ram it in–jam it in, student’s heads are hollow.

Cram it in–slam it in, there is more to follow.

Contrast this to the saying by Plutarch:

The mind of a child is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.

The way to kindle the fire of a child’s mind is to connect with it.

The next post will show the person who taught John Maxwell the importance of connecting, and the two resolutions he made on how to achieve that skill.




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