Think about a time you had trouble connecting with a colleague, friend or supervisor. Were they trying to get across a point that you weren’t following? Did you feel heard? Did you both nod in agreement, but you left not fully understanding the outcome of the conversation? Creating connections with others builds successful relationships. Three ways to improve your ability to connect and communicate effectively are:
- Ask Questions
You can learn from others by asking thoughtful questions. Children ask lots of questions because they are curious to discover new things. Be curious and see a situation from someone else’s perspective. Come up with two questions you would like to ask someone before you meet with them. It will help you engage the other person in the conversation and strengthen your connection.
There are many interruptions in your life and they can cause you to miss parts of a conversation. To listen with intention, remove as many potential distractions as possible, such as your mobile device. Even if your phone is on vibrate and you choose not to look at it when it vibrates, it still causes you to lose your connection with the other person. The most valuable technique I use to actively listen is to maintain eye contact with the person who is speaking.
Being heard lets people know you care about them and it builds trust in the relationship. Stating what you heard during the conversation demonstrates that you understood the person. Summarizing what you learned makes sure you are both on the same page and clarifies any next steps that resulted from the discussion.
Connecting with others allows you to strengthen your relationships. Improve your connections by asking questions to learn from others, listening with intention and letting the person know they were heard and understood by reflecting what you learned.
How do you connect best with others? Share your thoughts and experiences, join the conversation below.