1, Jan 2024
Building Genuine Connections: How to Foster Trust and Loyalty Through Authenticity and Empathy.
How to Build Connections
A connection feels like you’ve known someone your entire life. It’s a feeling of trust, respect and loyalty.
Making meaningful connections can take a bit more work than surface-level small talk. But it’s possible.
Try these tips to build better connections in your personal and professional lives: 1. Focus on what you have in common.
1. Be yourself
Being yourself is a crucial part of building connections. It might feel a little vulnerable at first, but it will pay off in the long run. If you try to be someone else in order to make friends or build relationships, people will eventually see through it.
Showing that you care about the person you’re talking to is another key factor in building a connection. This means actively listening and not letting your mind wander to other things during a conversation. It also helps to be present physically, which can be a sign that you’re engaged.
Lastly, it’s important to go beyond surface-level conversation and ask questions that show you’re interested in learning more about the other person. For example, asking how they came to their career path or what their biggest goals are for the future can help you connect on a deeper level.
2. Ask open-ended questions
Open-ended questions are the best way to get an in-depth response from your respondents. These types of questions start with “what,” “why,” and “how.” This allows respondents to answer without being influenced by the person asking the question.
This is the type of question that you should ask to break the ice in meetings, forge team connections, power brainstorming sessions, and solicit feedback. It also gives you a deeper understanding of what’s going on in your business.
Observe the kind of questions you usually ask your prospects, clients and every other person you interact with. Pay attention to whether they’re closed or open-ended questions, and start turning them into open ones wherever you can. The results will be more meaningful for both parties. You can do this by preparing open-ended questions based on reading material for class discussions or in your surveys using Slido.
3. Go deeper
Deeper connections occur when you share common interests and goals. Whether it’s joining an exercise class together or signing up for weekly art meetups, focusing on your shared hobbies can help you build trust and respect with people.
People are drawn to those who care and listen with empathy. Listening on a logical level is natural, but it’s important to listen on an emotional one as well. This shows that you really understand them and their situation, which can help you connect on a deeper level.
Make sure to talk about yourself as well. It can be intimidating to go first, but a simple “I was just thinking about my childhood,” or “My biggest goal for this year is to become better at handstands” will initiate conversation and set the stage for a deeper connection.
4. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable
Vulnerability is risk, uncertainty and emotional exposure. It’s often connected to shame or fear, but when we lean into our vulnerability, it can also be a source of courage and joy.
Being vulnerable is key to building warm, trusting relationships with those around you. It fosters greater empathy, deepens connection with others and promotes self-acceptance.
However, many of us avoid vulnerability because we’re scared. We think that it means we have to be dramatic and share our most raw, personal secrets. But, in reality, being vulnerable can simply mean prioritizing your truth and letting those you trust know what’s important to you. This can be as simple as expressing your true values, or even talking about difficult experiences you’ve had in the past. It just has to be genuine.
5. Be consistent
When you connect with someone, you should strive to make it a regular experience. This includes in-person meetings where you can truly focus on them without distraction. During these meetings, you should work to make eye contact, avoid multitasking and keep your phone out of sight.
Building meaningful connections is a long-term process. Be patient and recognize that not everyone will become a part of your network or may be able to connect with you at all.
Show your connections that they are important to you by giving genuine compliments and highlighting them in others’ circles. Be willing to help them without having an ulterior motive; this shows that you care about them and will ultimately lead to a stronger bond. Consistency is a key characteristic in any relationship, and it is especially beneficial when building connections.