The best way (in my opinion!) to make a connection to someone new…

I used to find it quite stressful when I met someone I didn’t know. Most of the time I struggled beyond – “what do you do?”, and my lack of belief in being able to talk to anyone for long enough to build any sort of meaningful connection meant avoidance became a key strategy!

If this sounds familiar (and even if it doesn’t and you just want to connect to people more effectively) then what I found to be really useful as I’ve worked on this is to have two things at the forefront of my mind when I meet someone I don’t know – being interested and being interesting.

Being interested – as humans we like to feel we’re worthy of others attention and have some value in the world so use this. Smile, make eye contact, ask questions, share similar experiences (so it doesn’t feel like an interrogation!) and use words and phrases that show you’re listening and that what they said has resonated.

Being interesting – obviously we don’t all find the same things interesting but I’ve found using observational type humour, sharing thoughts and ideas in an area I have useful knowledge, storytelling with a relevant funny, interesting or poignant ending and being open to talk on an emotional level has worked really well for me.

These are not two distinct areas but are actually in play at the same time in a conversation – “I found growing up in small town had a significant impact on how I see the world, I’m interested (yes, use the word!) in how you found it?”

I think you’ll also find you can tell at the time how the interaction has gone so you will have some immediate feedback on what worked and what you could do better.

And what if they’re not very interesting I hear you ask? Then get interested in what it is about you that doesn’t find them interesting!!

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