Sometimes it's hard to connect with someone, especially when it comes to someone you've just met. However, much of the success you will have in life will depend on your communication skills and your ability to connect with others. Indeed, "the way we communicate with others and with ourselves determines the quality of our life," said Anthony Robbins.
How to connect with someone?
- The brain captures and processes the subtle signals of communication
“The most important thing in communication is to listen to what is not being said,” said the philosopher Peter Drucker. As you speak, your subconscious remains alert to check whether your interlocutor is interested in your speech or not. It's a kind of defense mechanism to keep you from embarrassment. Your brain takes note of everything from body language to the other person's gestures and words.
Therefore, in order to connect with someone, it is essential that you take care of your body language. Don't look away for more than a few seconds because his brain will catch that detail and assume you're not interested in the conversation, cutting off any possible connection. On the contrary, paying attention will make the other person feel important and will be a boost of confidence.
Small details, such as leaning slightly forward while sitting, nodding when you agree with what he says or keeping your arms relaxed, never crossed at chest height, will send the signal to your interlocutor that you want to tune in.
- Don't let the conversation revolve around you
If you've just met someone and they start talking, don't interrupt them. Some believe that breaking the story and relating it to their own experience is a good strategy to facilitate the emotional connection. True, but it is necessary to apply this strategy in moderation, because if you overdo it it can become very frustrating by breaking any connection. Remember the words of Jedd Daly: "Two monologues do not make a dialogue".
You cannot generate trust in someone if that person senses that every time they start talking, you will intervene. Not only will you interrupt his speech but also the emotional flow of the conversation. It is even worse if you try to talk about yourself all the time since you would give the impression of being a self-centered person who does not care about his interlocutor.
- Beware of generic comments
Mark Twain said that "we can discover a man's character from the adjectives he usually uses in his conversations." In this sense, abusing generic comments is one of the most direct ways to tell the other person that you are not interested in their speech. Any monosyllable can become a generic comment, such as "yes", "big" or "interesting".
These words are often used to pretend that one is listening and can become quite obvious and annoying. We all use them in certain circumstances, but if we want to connect with a person, we simply have to practice active listening, which involves being fully present.
- Don't pretend you know everything
When we talk to others, especially strangers, we want to make a good first impression, so we draw on our knowledge. The problem is that by doing so, our attitude could be considered psychological violence.
It is much better to be authentic, to talk about what we know and to acknowledge what we do not know. Anxiety about making a good impression often has the opposite effect. Also, recognizing what you don't know is synonymous with humility. It has been shown that people who make small mistakes tend to be more likeable than those who give themselves the air of knowing everything.
- Imitate the movements of your interlocutor
When we emotionally connect with someone, without realizing it, we synchronize our movements. The key is that we feel so connected to the speech that we also imitate its movements.
Therefore, a simple trick to get in tune more quickly with your interlocutor is to imitate some of his movements, to facilitate emotional synchronization. Pay attention to the movements of his body and replicate them gently.