Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: 4 Ways of Connecting One-on-One

In this fifth chapter of his book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, John Maxwell explores his fifth principle of connecting, namely, that connecting is more a matter of an acquired skill than of natural talent.

In the last section, Charlie Wetzel, a friend of John Maxwell’s, described John’s five methods for connecting with a live audience.   In this section, he describes how John connects in the exact opposite situation from a mass audience:   how he connects well with individuals.   Here are four methods that John uses to connect on a one-to-one basis.

1.  Understand Others

One story that John Maxwell related in a different book was that of a nineteenth century American heiress who married and moved to Britain after her marriage to an English gentleman.    She had a chance to meet Prime Minister William Gladstone at a formal party one week, and then by happenstance she was invited to a formal party where the former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli was in attendance.    She had a chance to compare the way the two men connected.   She said Gladstone made you feel like he was the most interesting person in the room, but Disraeli, on the other hand, made you feel like you were the most interesting person in the room.    He listened to what she had to say, asked questions and drew her out, commenting amiably on what she had to say.    Oscar Wilde was also a famous conversationalist from that period.    He was the most celebrated comic playwright of his era, and those whom he met at dinner parties were often shy of saying anything in front of this witty genius.   However, he found wit and delight in what they had to say, and that is why he was so highly regarded (before a homosexual scandal destroyed his life).

2.  Help Others

If you are at a networking event looking for connections to a person who may help you find a new position, try turning the tables and helping others whom you meet.    In the course of helping them, they will naturally ask what it is that you are looking for.   And when they come across a helpful piece of information, they will naturally want to help you, because they have fond memories of you for having helped them when they needed it.

3.  Include Others

When you see someone in the corner at a networking event who is standing by him or herself, then go over and introduce yourself.   Take away the nervousness and social awkwardness they feel by including them.    Ask what they do and what they are interested in.   If you know someone at the event that is in their same field or who could help them find something they are looking for, introduce them.   Or if you know someone who is not there at the event who can help them, get them in touch with the new person by exchanging that person’s e-mail.

4.  Add Value to Others

Try to give something to the other person before they leave:   a piece of information, a piece of advice, an encouragement, something that will make the person glad they came to the event, and glad they talked to you.

These are excellent ways of getting to connect with people in a networking system.

The next post will deal with how to connect with the written word.


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