The 15 Strategies, Guidelines, and Rules of Connecting
1. Be friendly first, and everything else falls into place.
Friendly breeds likeability and trust. People do business with people they like and people they trust. The twin of friendly is smiley. People who smile are 100 times more attractive than people who don’t. Smiling not only sets the tone for others, it’s the reflection you give them about who you are and how you think. How friendly are you? How easy is it for you to make friends?
2. Project your self-image in a way that breeds confidence in others.
Your handshake is an indicator of the self-image. So is your dress. Everything from your hair to your shoes is an indicator of who you are and what your style may be, or not be. Projected image creates first impressions. And even though first impressions are not always correct, they are the ones that stick in the mind of the other person until corrected. What is the image that you have of yourself? What kind of image do you think you project? Is that image acceptable to those you seek to connect with?
3. Your ability to look someone in the eye as you speak to them is a tell-tale sign of your own self-respect.
Make eye contact. It’s not only a display of confidence it’s a display of truth and a display or respect for the other person. Do you find it easy to make eye contact? Do you find it a sign of weakness when others do not make eye contact with you?
4. Your consistent positive attitude will breed positive responses and positive results.
Everyone knows it is important to have a positive attitude. Very few people understand how important a role it plays in the way you communicate and the way you are perceived by others. Without a positive attitude, your demeanor becomes borderline or unacceptable. Positive attitude needs to be there all the time, in the background, as fuel to run your engine of life without toxic emissions. Do you expect to have a positive attitude if you are not doing something positive in the morning every day?
5. Show up and be prepared.
“Ninety percent of success is showing up,” it is a quote made famous by Woody Allen. He almost had it right. The principle is: Ninety percent of success is showing up prepared. Preparation is the key to success. Luckily for you, most people are either under-prepared or unprepared. There’s no such thing as being over prepared. CAUTION: Preparation requires work. Homework - before hours and after hours work. If you are looking to communicate effectively preparation is not the best way. Preparation is the only way. When you show up to a networking event, how prepared are you? When you go to some kind of meeting, either business or social, how prepared are you?
6. The less you focus on your motive to meet, the more likely it is that your connection will be successful.
Most people trying to connect have some sort of motive or need. That’s OK, depending upon when you make it. In my opinion, it should be later than sooner. First seek friendship and acceptance. In other words, drop your agenda and focus on connecting, not extracting. Is your focus short-term gain, or a long-term relationship?
7. Take a genuine interest in other people before you ask them to take a genuine interest in you.
If you’re trying to connect with another person, it seems obvious you’d want to get to know them. Not just to qualify them, but to learn from them. The best way to find out about other people is to ask questions. Do you have a list of questions prepared in advance that will bring you an understanding of who you’re meeting with?
8. The sooner you can find something in common with the other person, the sooner all the barriers will disappear.
The link is not the secret. Finding it is. Find common ground, and you’ll always have something to talk about. Think about the closest friends and the closest connections you have made throughout your life. I’ll guarantee you the foundation is filled with things you have in common. Are you willing to devote the time that it takes to uncover things you may have in common with a prime connection?
9. The higher up the ladder you go, the more cautious people will be of your advances.
Everyone wants to make powerful connections. A bigger question is: do the powerful people want to make a connection with you? That depends on value, engagement, and the interest that you generate. In general, people with the wealth are in no hurry to make the big decisions. Instead what you should do is build confidence so as to build trust. Developing relationships with key contacts here, should not be rushed. Are you trying for higher level connections? Are they responding in a favorable way?
10. People judge you by every action that you take.
They keep mental bookmarks about the promises you make and how you fulfilled them. You MUST always give a first class performance. You can’t just look first class, you’ve got to take first class action and everything in a first class way. Do you always do what you say you will do? Do people refer to you as first class?
11. Provide value.
In order to build a solid working relationship there must be value exchanged. One-sided exchanges are short lived. Value-based exchanges are built to last. Do you always provide as much value as you expect to get?
12. Transferring your message with EXCELLENT communication skills.
Connecting is about engaging in a powerful way that requires your message to be delivered in an actual way. How good are you at making your message compelling enough to act on?
13. Staying in touch is more important and more valuable than the initial connection.
We now use weekly emails, and so should you. A weekly tip or tidbit of useful information sent to every customer, every week. Do you provide a value message to every customer, every week, or every other day?
14. Your present reputation determines your future fate.
Whatever your reputation is today, determines the new future of your success. And reputation is a continuous building process. How would you define your present reputation?
15. Be yourself. Talk real, act real, be real, and you find that others will do the same in return.
In the classic Dale Carnegie book How to Win Friends and Influence People, the underlying theme is, “Be yourself.” How real are you to others? How real are you to yourself? There are several reasons for being yourself:
- It’s the most comfortable feeling you can give yourself
- It’s obvious when you project it. It shows that you’re relaxed with it, and confident with it.
- It’s always repeatable. It allows you to be consistent in all of your communications with all of your connections
- It’s the best and most honest way to act. It creates an atmosphere for open dialogue and honest communication.
Important Note: Oh, and one other thing – you have to implement them!