Connecting versus Communicating, and does it really matter?
Has this ever happened to you? I was on an oversee’s call with my sister this week using FaceTime, and the line kept getting disconnected; that funny timer kept appearing while trying to reconnect.
Remember when Verizon wireless ran a campaign a couple of years ago. Can you hear me now? This was one of the most effective campaigns they had ever run because it resonated with so many people through their personal experiences. I really appreciated this campaign because it spoke directly to the reality of communication coming from a cell phone provider that was putting out the challenges when communication is lost.
Everyone knows when their phone drops a call, or the line is bad because you can not hear the other person. When this happens to you, what is your normal reaction? Maybe if it’s a family member that your not really interested in talking to, this might be a relief or even happy, but picture yourself on hold for 20 minutes paying a bill, and all of a sudden your phone stops working, and you lose the connection!
What is your reaction to this? Annoyed frustrated. Have you ever thought about why you get frustrated when this happens? It’s generally because it is wasting your time. It interrupts the flow of what you are trying to accomplish and your productivity.
The bottom line is connecting is everything when it comes to communication. And to be an effective leader and human, we know that communication is everything.
In this scenario, it’s easy to spot the loss of connection, but how about when you don’t have a good connection with people? Do you know when a connection has been made? Can you identify when the connection is starting to go bad? HOW?
Most people think they are connecting, but are they really?
John C. Maxwell’s book “Everyone communicates, few connect” actually teaches practical ways to assess and identify if you are making a connection with your people. He says that without connection, communication is less influential. I agree with this; think about it who do you generally want to follow and work for? Leaders that connect with you, and why is that? Because you feel that they understand and listen to you.
Anyone that wants to achieve more in life should learn and study how to connect versus communicate.
This was my weekend reading. I think I am pretty good at communicating, but I know that communication is not static and can always improve. Reading books can also help me teach others and put it into words that will support my team to understand the power of this.
I find that sometimes our inherent leadership skills become easier to teach and coach when we read books about our strengths, giving us the words to articulate easily how to help others improve in our own area of strength. And as Leaders are learners, I am always ready to learn.
So, in a nutshell, here are some of the book’s highlights I have found very useful.
To become a strong connector and deliver powerful messages, there are 5 practices that every leader should do to ensure they are connecting with their people.
- Connectors – connect on common ground. This means to find something you have in common.
- Connectors – capture people’s interests. This means finding out what’s important to your people and make it interesting to talk to you.
- Connectors – inspire people. Teach your team something they didn’t know. Leave them with value at the end of your conversations. Make them think, not just do. This is huge; most leaders that focus only on the task, what people have to do(action) will not be able to inspire their team. Stating the obvious is easy, but getting your team to think differently is a much more skilled job. Moving people into action because you could assist in changing their minds and perspectives is a much more influential way of leading.
- Connectors – keep things simple. This means to take a complicated message and make it simple. Use smaller, shorter words and fewer of them.
- Connectors – walk the talk. This inspires trust and credibility—role model.
If you are reading this and think this is something you already know, think again. As a leader, it’s critical for you to truly understand this and measure your ability to connect with others, which means learning how.
If you want to learn more about this and develop strong connecting skills, I highly suggest you read this book. These are just a few tidbits, but the book goes deep into this subject.
One of the most powerful quotes I read was this. To relate to others, “Be interested and impressed, not interesting and impressive” WOW…Apply this to your conversations this week and see the shift in how you connect with your people.
Live Purposely, Lead Positively,
President & Founder, retailu.ca
To learn more about my story, grab my book on AMAZON