You would think that it takes a lot of effort to connect with another person, but all it really takes it just one thing in your conversation with someone else.
Without this one element, most conversation stop after “Hey, nice weather out there, don’t you think?” or “Where do you live?”
And don’t get me wrong, sometimes it is good that some conversations end there, because you don’t feel a connection with the other person. But in most cases, it is certainly worthwhile to dig a little deeper to see whether there are some common interests, traits or whatever you are looking for in that particular connection.
How do you currently go about connecting with people?
Think about this for a minute.
What has come into your mind?
Do you tend to talk about things like weather? Do you talk about yourself? How do you start a conversation?
Last week, I learned a “game” by Bryan Bayer. He spoke at the event which I attended in Colorado last week, and gave a short talk. Most of the time actually it was us in the audience doing an exercise about this one missing element to spark any conversation.
What is this missing element, you ask?
It’s is easier than you think. The missing element is “curiosity”.
That is it.
You won’t believe how interesting the conversation can get when you show curiosity to the person sitting opposite you. You won’t believe how quickly you can connect with anyone by “just” being truly curious and by looking someone in the eyes. You won’t believe how instantly you can connect with the other person by listening and making them feel understood.
It is one of the top desires of every single one of us. To feel understood.
Don’t worry now, I won’t make you complete a long exercise. All I am proposing to you is to have a genuine conversation with someone. How do you go about doing that?
Well, here is what you can do:
- Think about someone in your environment whom you would like to get to know better. It might be someone sitting in the bus next to you, it might be someone you know at work. Or you pick someone whom you’d think you know. This can get really interesting.
- Respect one rule when you talk to them: “Be genuinely curious about their answer”. Hence, please avoid simple questions like “What school did you go to?” unless you are truly interested about that answer.
- Keep eye contact with the other person as much as possible to show how genuinely curious you are about their story.
- So, go out there and ask the other person some questions, which you are curious about for about 5 minutes. If it takes a second to connect and think about a “real” question to arise, that is okay. Take the time to connect.
- If you sense that the person is intrigued by your questions, keep going. Keep it natural. Maybe they have questions for you?
How did the conversation go? Did you appreciate it? What has been your biggest barrier so far to connect with people?
After your conversation, please share your experience with us below in the comment box. I am curious what your experience was like!