We have conversations with people every single day. Sometimes they are in person – at the office, the store, church or any number of other places. And more often they remote – on social media, via text message, or through some other digital form of communication. Regardless of the modes in which we are communicating, our ability to connect is key for having deeper, more meaningful conversations.
Would you like your conversations to have more meaning? Think about how your church, business, or family would benefit from your ability to connect with each person you speak with. Believe it or not, connecting is a skill that can be learned if you put some effort into it. There are many helpful tips for mastering every conversation you have. Let’s get plugged into leadership and learn about three of these tips:
- Really Listen! Do NOT just wait for you turn to speak
I will admit I am a talker. I was having a conversation with a former boss and I asked him what were two things he thought I could do to be a better pastor. One of the things he said was to be a better listener. He was right. I needed to not just wait for my turn to speak, but also to really listen to the person. When I think of this encounter, I can’t help but be reminded of the verse in James 1:19, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” Slowing our speech and turning up our listening ear will do wonders for our ability to connect with others. Add in a smile and a genuine concern for the other person and you are well on your way to connecting.
- Grasp what the other person feels and communicate back by labeling what he or she feels
In step one, I told you to buckle down on your listening. When we listen well, we are better prepared to label how the other person feels. Chris Voss, CEO of the Black Swan Group, has a strong understanding of labeling in the conversational context. He says, “A label is an intentionally designed verbal observation. It’s a sentence that most always begins with these words:
- ‘It seems like…’
- ‘It sounds like…’
- ‘It looks like…’”
He continues, “This phrase is then followed by your observation of the dynamic you wish to affect. It’s one of the reasons these skills in other formats have been called the stealth weapons of effective negotiations”
Labeling is important. It shows empathy and that you genuinely care for the person with whom you are speaking. This goes a long way toward making that deep connection with others.
- Offer to help by giving HOPE
There are many different ways to say the same thing. Once you have listened and labeled correctly how they feel, then you can offer help* by giving them hope. Whether you’re offering advice, a new perspective on a situation, or some words of encouragement, your help in giving hope will be an integral element of connecting with whom you are speaking. Helping each other is at the heart of what it means to be a Christians. Take a step outside of your own agenda, and do at least one small thing to help somebody and give him or her hope to press on another day.
Connecting with the people you encounter is crucial for having more meaningful conversations. The ability to connect with others is something you can learn with a little effort. Although there are many ways to connect with others and improve your conversations, you can start by making sure you are listening well, labeling what you perceive the other person is feeling, and offering help by giving hope. In following these steps, your conversations will be more deep, interesting and meaningful.
*Speaking of helping, I would like to help you! Here are two resources that I found helpful and gave me great hope for having better and deeper conversations.
1. Join a Mastermind group that walks through John C. Maxwell’s book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. I found this group so helpful, I now offer one to others, myself.
2. Buy Chris’s book, Never Split the Difference. Also, if you buy the book, Chris gives a very good offer at the end of the interview below. It is an offer I took advantage of, and you can too!