16, Sep 2023
Building Stronger Connections in Community Organization
How to Build Stronger Connections in Community Organization
Building stronger connections is one of the most important aspects of community organizing. These relationships allow people to support each other, and can even lead to professional opportunities.
To build strong connections, it is important to be genuine and to listen carefully. It’s also helpful to keep notes on people you’ve met so you can recall important details later on.
Be yourself and build stronger connections by discovering common interests and sharing stories with others. You can also create a connection by being honest and demonstrating empathy with others.
Being yourself is all about knowing your own beliefs and values, and living by them. It also means standing up for those beliefs and values.
When you are being yourself, you have a strong sense of self-worth and confidence. You do not need to pretend or put on a facade. It’s important to share your true personality and characteristics with those who matter most to you, such as family members and friends. They will appreciate your uniqueness. They may even admire and respect you for it. Being yourself also leads to personal growth as you learn from your experiences.
Maintain eye contact
Eye contact is a powerful communication tool that enhances empathy, trust, and social connection. While it can be uncomfortable, if you are able to develop strategies and techniques to maintain eye contact in both intimate and professional relationships, you will find that the benefits are well worth the effort.
During discussions, aim for 50%-70% of eye contact. However, be careful not to stare or appear overly intense. Looking away occasionally allows you to break the gaze and regain your composure, and also prevents people from feeling uncomfortable.
In some cultures, such as Japanese and Korea, eye contact is considered aggressive and disrespectful. Also, individuals with neurodivergent brains may experience challenges when engaging in eye contact. In such cases, it is important to be understanding and not take this behavior personally.
Mirror each other’s behavior and language
If you’re communicating with someone over a video call, try mirroring their behavior and language. They’ll notice, and it’s a great way to signal that you’re listening. This also signals that you’re on their side and can help establish rapport.
When individuals mirror each other’s body posture and gestures, it sends a message that they agree with the other person’s ideas and attitudes. This is one of the most important factors in establishing trust and rapport.
This mirroring can occur at different levels of abstraction, from the exact mimicry of a motor gesture up to an abstract mirroring of goals and intentions. It’s this high-level alignment that makes communication possible.
Ask open-ended questions
Open questions are inquiries that do not require a yes or no answer and encourage respondents to share their opinions, experiences, or feelings. They are often more detailed and give you a deeper understanding of the respondent.
Closed questions, on the other hand, fish for specific information, such as ratings, and can be answered in one word or less. They are a good choice for when you want fast, quantitative data that can be statistically analyzed.
You can ask closed questions in a conversation to elicit quick, precise answers, but you should use open-ended questions when it is important to establish rapport and develop intimacy. For example, if you are at a networking event and need to break the ice with someone new, try asking them an open question like: “How is your job search going?”.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Many people fear that asking for help will be viewed as a sign of weakness or dependency. However, asking for assistance is actually a strength. It shows that you are willing to acknowledge your limitations and seek out others’ perspectives.
Moreover, research suggests that the desire to repay a favor is hardwired into human brains. In fact, most people enjoy helping others.
When you don’t ask for help, you not only assume all the burden that could easily be shared but also deprive those who would be more than happy to assist you of the opportunity to do so.
To increase the number of connections you have, try to reach out and stay in touch more often. It can be as simple as adding someone to your holiday card list or sending them a brief email.