The other night my husband Simon and I were networking and he gave me the best compliment, “Draga (dear), you’re a great networker. You really have the gift of relating to people. I love how easily you can connect with them”. Although his compliment made me happy, it caused me to pause and question what truly makes a good networker? How can each of us become better communicators, and through it improve our connection with other people?
Because today we live in a digital society, we sometimes forget that real relationships are created and sustained through real communication. Open and positive communication is the key to successful relationships, both at home and in the workplace.
An understanding of the difference between communication and connection is important. In my opinion, communicating is about using your head, your voice, your body language, your hands to type- all that takes your brain-your head. But connection takes communication to the next level. True connecting comes from the heart. Connecting uses your emotions; it fosters deep and meaningful relationships—the ones you will always remember. The ones that make a difference in your world. Being able to connect well with others increases our influence in just about every situation.
Maya Angelou — “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Communication, is both a skill and an art – something we must learn and work at to refine. Whether it’s a business, family or friendship interaction, communication is an important tool in all areas of our lives. We can employ it to improve ourselves, others and the world.
Communication Results from Connection but Not Vice Versa
For example; problems in love relationships do not occur because people are too stupid to figure out common sense methods of communication like listen better and speak respectfully. In fact, it is misleading to say that people in intimate relationships have communication problems at all, though it can feel that way to them in their frustration and sadness. It is more accurate to say that lovers in distressed and unhappy relationships have connection problems.
Communication in love relationships is a function of emotional connection. When people feel connected, they can communicate well, and when they feel disconnected they communicate poorly, regardless of their choice of words and communication techniques.
Relationships are created and sustained through communication. Open and positive communication is the key to successful relationships and is therefore an essential tool for maintaining good mental health.
We are so used to communicating with others that we forget how complicated it can be.
To communicate clearly you need to:
- Be clear about what you want to communicate
- Convey your message so that it can be received and understood
The other person must:
- Hear the message accurately and
- Understand what you mean
At any of these stages, misunderstandings can occur. These can easily lead to hurt, anger or confusion. The good news is that with a little persistence, these misunderstandings can be easily corrected
“True connection happens face to face, heart to heart, live and in person. Sharing the same physical space. Sharing an experience together.” -Darren Hardy
Most of us have a huge fear of really connecting because we are afraid of being vulnerable and possibly getting hurt. By denying ourselves this opportunity we aren’t able to connect effectively with others.
- I will be interested enough in others to ask questions.
- I will think of others and look for ways to help them
- I will let people into my life
- I will care about people
Connecting is hard because of our fear of rejection, but it is worth it, because by connecting with people we have the ability to identify with them and relate to them in a way that increases our influence in almost any situation, whether at home or at work.
But listening also requires us to give up one of our favorite human pastimes—talking about ourselves. But if we think less about ourselves, and think more of the other person, we will gain their respect, and their trust.
Simon would be the first to admit that although he is a great communicator, he isn’t always as good a connector as I am. He thinks with his head, whereas I act with my heart. This means that I am open and vulnerable to share my personal life, beliefs and opinions. I am also genuinely excited to learn about other people and who they are. But not everyone is like me. Sometimes it takes time for a person to be able to share and connect, but it is usually worth it. When meeting people, Simon is definitely personable, and for those that are fortunate to get to know him well, you quickly discover he is a very sympathetic and caring person. He is great at helping fix people’s problems, whereas I am a good listener.
In the end, we are all people and we need more than information. Communicators need to think about how they can cultivate a more holistic view of communication that includes the relationship aspect, rather than focusing purely on the distribution of information. The more we as communicators can help people connect and communicate effectively in a digital world, the more all of us will benefit.
So get out there communicate AND connect because you know you can do it. You may find you’re good at it!
If you feel like you have any of these concerns, please give us a call at (440)-385-6737.