The art of influencing people and getting them to understand and agree with your way of thinking can be a powerful tool in business. But to become a true influence on people, you need first to create a special connection with them – a deep level of rapport. Once you build this, it’s easy to ask them to work with you on any issue – no convincing required. It could be a product, service or idea you’re selling or even presenting yourself as an ideal candidate for a job posting. You’ll be able to experience a greater level of influence in all areas of your personal and business life.
That’s where business coaching can help. Although it’s no substitute for the real thing, the following five ways to connect with people will “wet your appetite”, and help develop your networking skills so you can get ahead in an increasingly social-reliant workplace.
Reach Out to People
The best way how you can connect with people is to reach out to them. You’re probably hesitant about contacting interesting people. After all, why would they want to talk to you? Don’t be that person. Make the first move. Rather than make assumptions like these, reach out with a short email introducing yourself, and enquiring more about them. Ask a colleague out for coffee or lunch. Offer help when none is needed… The rule of thumb is: Show interest and receive interest in return. Typically, self-doubt and a fear of rejection stand in the way of making connections. If you can eliminate them, you can take the first step to influencing people.
As any good business coach will tell you, to connect with a person, you need only be a friend. Invite them for coffee, and spend time getting to know who they really are. When you engage in a conversation, make the effort to actually listen and understand. Ask questions that invite a response, not just a “yes” or a “no” answer. Doing so will have them open up to you, and you’ll learn more about the issues close to their heart. Smile a lot, use good, clean humor, share jokes and anecdotes, but most importantly, give them your full, undivided attention.
Lead by Being Accessible
An important business coaching tip is to be accessible to the people working with you. Bill Gates is a prominent example of this, as he chooses to publish his email address to the public so that people can get in touch with him with their ideas. If you’re accessible, then you’ll be more likely to keep in touch with events and issues your employees face. Listening and being accessible is only half the story. To deepen your connection, you need to respond to their concerns, taking steps to develop a workforce that is entirely dedicated to you and your company’s mission.
Be Comfortable in Your Skin
Your credibility and honesty are possibly the best approaches to connecting with people. When interacting with people, be who you are and confident in yourself. Never try and project yourself as something you’re not. At the onset, when you first meet a new person, they might take you at face value and accept the persona that you present. If who you present isn’t truly who you are (and if you aren’t a good actor) then you’ve got a potential problem at hand. Remember, people are smarter than you give them credit, and can see through your facade. Be yourself. They’ll trust you so long as you’re just being you.
Look for a Common Ground
When you meet a new person, your business coach will say that one of the best ice-breaking techniques is to find a common topic you can talk about. Begin with the weather. Then, ask a few more questions, and you’re sure to find something you both enjoy doing. It could be music, movies, a special hobby, event or possibly an idol that everyone adores. You might even connect over the fact that you’re both single and looking for that special someone to come along in your life. Talk about your impressions of the city you live in, your job or any other topic and ask about his. Having a common ground is sure to help you create a strong bond that you can use to create a deep connection.
Influence Through Understanding
If you’re struggling to connect with people on a level deeper than mild chit-chat and beverages, then these five business coaching tips to connect with people will have you ditching beers and getting down to business in no time. Remember, to connect and have a greater influence, don’t treat your meet up as a transaction, it’s an opportunity to build trust and mutual understanding of yourself and your business.