Sometimes it can feel like our lives are moving at lightning speed. With the never-ending to-do lists, an “always-on” work style, and phones glued to our hands constantly showcasing everything that everyone else is up to, it’s hard not to get lost in the chaos. But in a world that’s supposedly become more connected, these constant distractions can make us feel like we’re much more disconnected than ever before. As a result, the art of forming true, genuine connections seems to have become lost – and since it’s likely not to be found in our inboxes, we’ve compiled five tips so you can build better connections.
Put your phone away
Whether you are at a networking event or attending a work function, it’s important to put your phone away. Although our phones can act as a clutch of comfort – especially when attending an event solo – by having it out, you can quickly become consumed by it and close yourself off to those around you. By putting your phone away you appear much more visible and approachable to those around you. As a result, more people are likely to strike up a conversation with you, or better yet, you might feel inspired to take matters into your own hands and introduce yourself to someone new.
All about that eye contact
While this seems like an obvious tip, when you’re meeting someone new or starting to build a relationship, it can be easier said than done. By locking eyes with people when they are speaking, you are showing that you are interested in what they are saying and that they are worthy of your time. As a result, they will feel much more comfortable opening up and sharing their experiences with you. After all, no one likes to talk to someone who looks like they’d rather be somewhere else.
Lean in and listen
The majority of miscommunication that occurs can be attributed to people not fully listening to one another. Whether you are meeting a new contact or trying to strengthen your relationship with your boss, start shifting your approach to the way you listen. Rather than listening to respond, listen to understand. This change will have a significant impact on your relationships, allowing you to deepen your connections and further your understanding of people’s needs, perspectives and insights. From acing a client pitch, to landing a promotion, you’ll be surprised at just how far active listening will take you.
Do your homework
We have the world at our fingertips, so take advantage of it. Before you head out the door to your networking coffee date or new client lunch, do your homework. Use LinkedIn, Twitter, Google searches, and other social media platforms to find out more about the person’s career like the past positions he or she held, where he or she volunteers, or the groups or people he or she likes to follow. This will provide you with good talking tracks, and perhaps through some digging you’ll discover points of connection and similarities you can leverage. You’ll not only gain a more meaningful conversation, but you’ll also easily impress the person you’re meeting.
In a society full of filters and highlight reels, the superficial is sweeping over our social circles with force. So, when you actually get the chance to engage in conversation, be real and authentic with whom you’re speaking to. If you’re nervous, don’t be afraid to acknowledge it. If you admire something about the person you’re talking to, say it and pay him or her the compliment. By being authentic to yourself, you will build strong relationships that are rooted in trust, transparency and openness. Plus, people can usually tell when others are putting on a front, so they will be less likely to interact with you further, never mind selecting you as their ideal candidate for a job or promotion. Be you, and people will respect you for it.
By following these tips, you will not only strengthen your connections with others, but you just might surprise yourself with what manifests from it. Your network will quickly become your net worth.
Written by Lauren Steeves
About Lauren Steeves
Lauren Steeves is the editorial director of The Ace Class. In addition to The Ace Class, her work has appeared in national publications such as Notable Life, Branded Magazine, It's Date Night and the Canadian Women's Foundation. Currently residing in Calgary, Alberta, Lauren fuels her mornings with vanilla lattes and ends her days with a nice glass of pinot noir. She is constantly inspired by the strong, intelligent and fierce community of women she gets to work with and meet every day.
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