How often do you struggle with connecting with a coworker, a prospect, a customer, your employees, your boss, or your spouse or significant other? I am not referring to what you perceive as a deep connection. I am referring to what your listener experiences as a deep connection. We live in an age where attention spans dissolve in nanoseconds. The cell phone and technology has rewired our brains. So what can you say or do to change this instantly? Without being simplistic, three things can be transformational for you, if you are willing to take the leap. The first is lean into interactions without fear. When was the last time you hesitated to start a conversation with a stranger for fear of their reaction or response? What missed opportunities in your life will never cross your path again because of this? Some of my own richest moments in life have come from connecting with people I have have never met. The second thing you need to do is to look right into a person’s eyes when approaching them. If you cannot get over the first obstacle, the second does not happen. There is something transformational that occurs when we connect at the eye level, without fear and judgment. We realize that as uniquely different we all think we are, we are basically all the same. Once you have been able to accomplish this, the third step is to notice something about the person’s appearance or behavior that you can comment on in a genuine, non-biased way. What’s key is to be authentic and transparent without any expectation in return.
Studies show that Oxytocin, a “happy hormone” is released in your brain every time you have these experiences. It is almost a natural high kind of feeling. Without going into detail, there are many health benefits associated with this healthy hormone being sprayed all over your brain during these types of experiences. Don’t take my word for this. Do your research.
In my own life, I practice this exercise daily. Some months ago, my wife and I were sitting at Starbucks at the Hilton in downtown San Diego during one of our many power walks. There was an older gentleman who was a janitor sweeping the floor with his head down and posture drooped. People walked by him like he was invisible. I noticed he had what appeared to be a diamond ring on his finger. It was not a wedding ring, just a noticeable ring. He was standing ten feet away. I called out to him and said his ring was beautiful. He immediately raised his head. His posture straightened. I instantly moved toward him without fear and our eyes connected instantly. For the next twenty minutes, he shared the story with my wife and me about how he got to the United States from the Philippines many years ago. He purchased that ring when he received his US citizenship. He even pulled out the appraisal of the ring out of his wallet. He shared his struggles and the pride associated with his journey. It was one of those moments in my life that will forever be memorable. I could have easily missed it. So now you have a guaranteed three-step process to better connect with people in your life on a daily basis.