The ability to create quick connections with people is useful in all kinds of situations.
Meeting an interesting stranger. Talking to a potential customer. Going to a job interview. Or even things like meeting your in-laws for the first time.
In all these situations you’ll benefit greatly if you can create connections quickly with the people you’re talking to.
So here are three simple tips that will help you do it more easily.
1. Set the tone you want the conversation to have.
A lot of people hesitate when they first meet someone. They want to see what kind of mood or energy the other person is in, so they can adapt to that.
I’m here to tell you that you should be doing the opposite.
As you meet someone, you have the chance of setting the tone that you want.
If you walk into a job interview, for example, you’ll likely do a lot better if you can set a happy and friendly tone from the very start, than if you let the interviewer set a serious and solemn tone.
So as you walk in the door, you put on a big smile and say a happy and upbeat hello. When you shake their hand, you put a little energy into it. Then you ask a question or make some small-talk that is, again, happy and upbeat in nature.
Odds are that the people interviewing you will adapt to your energy. And when they do, you’re already creating a more positive experience for everyone.
2. Share something personal.
When new people meet each other, they rarely get personal.
They tend to stick to small-talk or whatever the most natural topic is. But if you share something about you, something that they weren’t expecting to hear, you’ll instantly deepen the conversation.
This doesn’t have to be something deeply personal and uncomfortable, of course. It just needs to be something that strangers don’t usually talk about in the first few minutes.
An easy way to come up with something is to think about what you would say to your best friend if that’s who you were talking to. Then say something to that effect.
When you do this, the other person will feel an increased trust – since you’re demonstrating that you trust them enough to speak openly. And chances are that they’ll not just relax more, but also open up more to you.
3. Ask a genuine interest question.
A genuine interest question is a question that explores someone’s motivations, inspirations, passions, or positive experiences.
Simple examples would be to ask someone what they love most about their job. Or what the best part of their hobby is. Or why they chose the education that they’re getting.
So it’s not about what they do, how long they’ve done it, or a yes/no on whether they like it. It’s about why they do it.
Show that you are genuinely interested in their answer, and they will feel like you’re genuinely interested in them as a person.
“I used to ask every customer I had what it was they loved about technology,” a friend of mine who was a salesman once told me, “and whenever they answered the question with more than one sentence, I knew I was going to make a sale.”
There are, of course, lots more tricks that will help you create connections (and you can find several of them in my Confidence and Communication course), but these are a good place to start if you want to improve this skill.
Go practice, and have fun!
And, as always, if you have any questions for me, you can reply to this email and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.