John Maxwell in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership defines The Law of Connection as “Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. We communicate with others every day but for some reason, we find it difficult to truly connect. If we really want to connect with others, we need to meet them on common ground. In other words, we need to understand and acknowledge their point of view and validate them as a person before we can expect to really make a connection.
This week, in one of the Everyone Communicates Few Connect mastermind groups I am facilitating, we had a great discussion on the reasons they we find it difficult to connect with others. Maxwell gives us four barriers that prevent us from connecting.
ASSUMPTIONS – How fast are we to think that we know what the other person is thinking? As soon as they start speaking, we typically pull form our own thoughts and opinions and make the assumption that we think the same way that they do. Bad Plan! This is where the skill of listening comes in. Really listen to what the other person is saying without assuming that we know what they are trying to say.
ARROGANCE – Some have suggested that arrogance is nothing more than the result of your confidence in what you know or in the skills that you have. That may be true to a certain extent, but you can almost guarantee that you will not connect if you bring arrogance to the conversation. When we truly want to connect, we need to allow the conversation to be about the other person. Leave your “confidence” out of the conversation and use what you know to encourage the other person, and don’t focus on your own accomplishments.
INDIFFERENCE – Nothing shuts down the ability to connect faster than when the other person sees that you are not even interested in what they are saying. Turn away from your computer, set down your smart phone and engage with the other person making eye contact so that that they know that you are interested in what they have to say. As Maxwell says:
“People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.”
When the other person believes that you care, they will be much more inclined to care about what you think allowing for the connection needed for success.
CONTROL – Have you ever been speaking with someone and felt like they were trying to control the conversation or the outcome of a decision that needs to be made? We can’t expect to connect with others if they feel like the direction is headed down a one-way path – yours! When we connect with others, there is a mutual understanding that the desired outcome will be a win-win. If we want a win-win outcome, we need to realize that the other person’s opinion matters and they could, in-fact, provide positive input to reaching a goal.
The bottom line is this, when we communicate with others we need to connect first and then allow the conversation to progress with both or all parties involved in the process.
Make an effort today to not just communicate, but connect with the other person. You might just be surprised by the outcome.
Next Up: Law # 11 – The Law of The Inner Circle
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Barry Smith www.buildingwhatmatters.com 7/18/12