Don’t you just love this quote from the comedian George Bernard Shaw: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
Ineffective communication is often at the root of failed leadership, disengaged employees, poor customer service and failed marriages.
The inability to connect with others is a symptom of ineffective communication.
John C. Maxwell, an internationally renowned leadership expert wrote a best selling book titled: “Everyone communicates, Few Connect”.
How true that statement is!
“Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.” John C Maxwell
The ability to connect is what all great communicators nail down.
And they connect with people on an emotional level.
It is impossible to become a great leader, a great spouse, a great parent and a great friend if you cannot connect with others.
You can’t influence someone if you can’t build a connection with them.
Following are 7 effective strategies that great communicators use to connect with people.
Master these skills and watch your connection and influence with others soar!
1. It’s Not About ME – it’s about YOU (the person or the audience).
Great communicators do not try to impress their audience with their credentials, what they know and how smart they are.
They relate to the audience based upon where the audience is – so they feel understood.
This is true whether it is an audience of one or one million people.
2. Authentic. Great communicators stay true to themselves.
People can smell a phony a mile away! That is why great communicators don’t try to be anyone they are not.
People are drawn to others who radiate authenticity and honesty.
When people are drawn to you – chances are they will be drawn to your message as well.
Authenticity is the glue that binds the connection.
3. Read Body Language Like a Book. Research shows well over 50% of all communication is non-verbal. Therefore, the greatest source of truthful information is revealed in people’s body language.
Body language is constant. Unlike verbal communication, non-verbal communication never stops. It’s always sending signals about how someone thinks and feels.
Great communicators are experts when it comes to reading body language. They can read facial expressions and other non-verbal gestures that reveal how someone really feels and what they really think (which may be at odds with what they say).
Every great communicator knows it is just as important to know what is not being said, as much as it is to know what is being said.
4. Communicate with Authority without being Arrogant. Great communicators speak clearly and directly about how they feel and what they believe.
They do not leave you guessing as to what their message is because they tell it like it is.
Although great communicators are direct, they are not rude or offensive.
5. Active Listening Skills
Great communicators remain totally present while actively listening to others when they speak. They are not distracted by their surroundings or their own thoughts.
They remain totally focused on the speaker and what is being said to them.
The only way to insure your listener knows they are being heard is to actively listen to them.
Reframing is one of the most powerful techniques that are essential to active listening. Simply, you re-frame what someone has just said to you to insure you heard them correctly. For example you might say: “You’re basically saying the team is having a difficult time implementing this strategy, correct?”
6. Every Single Person in the Room Believes You are Talking Directly to Them!
When speaking to a large audience, great communicators develop a level of intimacy with the audience that makes every single person in the room feel as if they are the only person in the room.
This is no easy feat. It requires the ability to be genuine and express the same feelings and energy you would emit when speaking to an individual, as opposed to getting consumed by the anxiety of a large crowd.
If you’ve ever been in a large audience and yet you felt the speaker was talking directly to you – you know how emotional this experience can be - and how lasting that connection becomes!
7. Connect with Feelings not Facts. All great communicators know that you emotionally connect with your audience.
As Maya Angelou said: “People will forget what you said and did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Every great communicator connects with their audience. Utilizing the above strategies will increase your ability to connect with the people in your professional and personal world.
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