In a time when we have been starved for connection and many of us are excited to form new connections and rekindle old ones, it seems a timely topic. I’ll admit that I’m a little rusty in making connections with people and a big part of that is worrying about how I will be perceived or if I will be rejected - Kind of like making friends on the first day of school or moving to a new town and learning to connect from scratch.
I held an open house the other day and met so many interesting people. Of course, I want to build my business and earn more clients, but how do you do that in the span of 2-3 minute conversations with complete strangers or sometimes even hour-long conversations with family and friends.
Connecting is the foundation to building trust. It could be discovering that you played the same sport, your kids went to the same school, or you share a favorite food. Everyone has stories and interests and they want to be heard, understood, and empowered. Approaching connection with a formula, using a Mad Libs style script, or having all the answers isn’t going to get you very far.
So what’s the secret to connection? Would you believe me if I said curiosity is the key? Just like my friend Ashley Welch discusses in her book, Naked Sales, we must use “divergent thinking” in order to learn as much as we can about a problem so we can design the best solutions for clients. She’s talking about applying Design Thinking to Sales, but what about applying the same concept to everyday human connection?
What if we approached every interaction, personal or professional, with magnified curiosity and shifted from answer provider to expert observer. If we move away from focusing on how we will be perceived, and really anything at all about ourselves, and instead dial that focus into pure curiosity about the person in front of us, then we open the door to connection. Those wide-open spaces of opportunity full of bread crumb trails to follow can be fantastic adventures and way more interesting conversations that lead to natural connections. From there, the possibilities are endless.
Next time you meet up with a friend, coworker, or stranger, approach them with wild curiosity. Who knows where the conversation could lead.