How many people do you know that connect brilliantly with other people, almost effortlessly? 4, 5, 10?
Now, How many people do you know that absolutely have zero emotional intelligence and can connect with people to save their life? 10, 20, 30?
As a culture we still celebrate IQ, the competency of a person intellectually. SAT scores, academic certifications and specialized awards and achievements. And yet, I have experienced that the smarter you are doesn’t mean that you are equally successful in business or life. In fact, it seems to me that the higher the IQ the more ineffective people are in connectivity and social influence.
Because my work is to speak, write and work with business leaders I get to hear the craziest stories about social miscues in business and life. The guy who said the oddest thing at the wrong time or the lady who has no idea she is losing influence because she doesn’t know when to shift to a different level of conversation and wears everyone out. Emotional Intelligence is the missing element in many cases. To connect well is both an art and science. It is the ABILITY a person has to understand, emotively connect and add value to those you are conversing with. This ability is something that can be learned, but only through intentional effort, like running a marathon or losing wait, etc.
Do you need to improve your ABILITY to connect with others? If so here are some areas to think about in doing just that.
1. Know Your Setting. There are right and wrong settings to have specific conversations. A discussion about your latest Quarterly P&L is not the best conversation starter around the dinner table with your children. In the same vein, being bored stiff in a social setting with friends is completely inappropriate just because the conversation isn’t around business or your particular interest. There is a time for everything. My next book, written this fall, speaks specifically about this art and science of knowing your settings and communicating appropriately.
2. Become Aware to Connect Well. Most people don’t think about it. They just do their thing, which is mostly doing. Instead of wondering why so and so was distant or why your friend was awkward, look in a mirror and ask yourself how approachable you are. To improve your ability to connect better with others is actually the process of becoming self-aware and leading yourself in your behaviour and communication.
3. Practice. Be curious. Learn to be more interested in others rather than ready to share your thoughts. Practice connecting well with your family, with your co-workers or boss and with your neighbors or others in your community. Practice in the way you communicate and the timing of when you communicate. Observe your tone of your voice and your body language as well. You can improve if you try.
When you improve your ABILITY to connect you increase your influence.
People like to be around people they like. Likability creates chemistry that leads you down the road of influence and significance. Let’s go after it together – improving our ability to connect with others. When we do we will notice a peace of mind that comes when you are rightly connected with those in your everyday world.