004: How to Connect with Anyone (Advanced Networking Tricks)

Human connection is so important for a variety of reasons. But as influencers, and as coaches it is really important for us to know how to connect with other people.

Ultimately by doing that we help them to see a new perspective, or see the world differently, and maybe even view themselves very differently.

That is what human connection is all about. It is helping us to improve ourselves, and improve our perspective of the world, by engaging with other people.

There are certain ways you can do this in a really great way, in order to grow your influence, to grow your audience. In this video we are going to talk about two specific things you can do. So we are going to look at connection, and look at it from both sides so that you have strategies to approach it from two different angles.

Connection really comes down to similarities between you and whomever you are wanting to draw a connection with.

So to find those similarities– in the business world we call this to know, to like and to trust. Typically when we see ourselves in somebody else, that makes us feel comfortable, because are familiar with ourselves; when we see that in somebody else we know it, we recognize it, we like it, and we can trust it, because it just feels really familiar.

That connection is really important. So how do you do that? Well there are two specific things that I think about when I am connecting with somebody new. The first is sort of the me of the equation, in this case the you of the equation. The second is the other person, the them. The ‘you’ side of the equation, the me if you will is that you have to be interesting. You have to be an interesting person in order to be able to connect with just about anyone. So let me tell you how you can be more interesting as a human.

When we develop connection, when we are having conversations with people especially as coaches, when we are enrolling people in programs; the number one step in sales is to build rapport. Rapport is kind of getting to know somebody, having similarities, and feeling like you are very similar.

When you are an interesting person, you are someone that is multi faceted and able to speak on topics outside of one narrow train of thought.

What I want you to do is think about the areas of life. And interests particularly. So the first thing that comes to mind when we are at like a networking event or something like that, is what do you do? Your do list, your career. But there are so many other facets of a person. What are they interested in terms of fitness, or health, or what is the current kick they are just on right now? Passion project they are working on, or maybe a DIY, what DIY projects do you do around the house or found to be interesting or fun? Sports, what sports did you play when you were a kid? Or are you playing right now? Things like that, passions like that make us interesting.

When our passions our varied and our experiences are varied; we are able to have conversations with lots of different people, because now you are able to draw a connection with people from any walk of life.

For example, if all you have ever done in your travel experience is go to all inclusive resorts. Let’s just say the only travel experience you have ever had is from an all exclusive resort. Well if you are trying to connect with somebody who is talking about their backpacking trip across Europe, and all you have ever done is see the interior of the resorts across Europe or something; then it is going to be difficult to draw a connection. But if you have had a variety of travel experiences, maybe you have done the all inclusive resort thing, but you have also done camping. Maybe you have travelled to really interesting and neat places around the world, or maybe you have done tons of site seeing around the US, or maybe you just know your city so well, because you have taken the time to find really interesting places.

All of those things– think about it; that’s just in the world of travel, that is just under one big umbrella. But imagine if your fitness experience, and sports experience was just as varied. Instead of just doing Yoga all the time, maybe you tried rock climbing, or maybe you went to do a water sport or something. Maybe you have a hilarious story about how one time you tried skiing. All of those different things allow you to be a well rounded person. Being a well rounded person is great, but the real benefit of being a well rounded person is the opportunity you now have to connect with people that are from different walks of life. Now your stories are so much different.

Those are things you really want to be able to engage in on a variety of levels. Imagine you get on the phone as coach with a potential client. They are telling you about their family vacation, they just took the kids to a water park. Well if you have never been to a water park before, you are going to have a hard time really connecting with them. So you might say something like, oh well I remember I was a kid and I took swimming lessons, or something. Maybe you have a funny story about how your recently tried to go wakeboarding. That’s water related, but if you have done none of that; it’s going to be so hard for you to connect with people.

So my challenge to you from this side of the connection spectrum, then we are going to talk about the other in a moment, but my challenge to you for this side is, I want you to think about, and it is kind of like creating a bucket list; what are the things you could easily do? Maybe there are certain foods you want to do, or maybe you have never made a pizza at home. I should just make a pizza at home just to have a cool story about it.

I want you to make a list of the things you would like to do, that could make you a lot more interesting.

Think about all the elements of life like– I really should take up a sport, but what sport should it be? Maybe try a few different ones, maybe just watch some Youtube videos about tennis or something, and see if you can learn a little bit about that. That’s going to be something that will start to be a connection; how you can connect to just about anybody. So that’s thing one, you are going to make a list of ideas of things you could do.

Here is the second part of this phase.

I want you— you already, I promise, you already have interesting aspects to who you are, we all do. We all have very different experiences in life.

Just before you never went wake boarding, or just because you haven’t tried some interesting food, or gone traveling the world. That doesn’t mean that you don’t already have awesome experiences. So I want you to take note of the experiences you already have. Maybe you have just forgotten about them. If they are not top of mind, when a client of somebody that you are networking with at an event or something, when they bring something up; if you stories are not at the top of your mind they are going to be hard to come out of you. So this exercise is called a story bank. I do this in Google doc. I have a Google doc that is my story bank.

Story banks are great for when you are invited to be on podcast episodes. In fact a couple of weeks ago I was invited to be on a podcast, I went back to my story bank. Okay what are the stories I actually want to share for this specific audience? For this episode? So go to my story bank and look up these things. I do this before networking events depending on where I am going, and who might be there. I go to be like, what are my stories that I want to be sharing with this specific audience? I just go to my story bank. They are things I have experience already, so not like I need to memorize them or anything, they have already happened, you know? I just load them in my brain and off I go. That is the power of a story bank.

Alright now, that is the first phase of being able to connect with anyone. That is the you phase, that is making you more interesting. The other side of connecting with people is to be more interested. Now you show up very interesting, and that’s all well and good if people ask you questions, or if people talk to you.

But, being interested in other people is actually even more powerful than being interesting yourself.

The most charismatic people are naturally curious about the world, and curious about others. That curiosity that they naturally have is something that leads them into trying new experiences. You see how these two things are connected? If I am naturally curious about the world, then I am going to want to go and explore. I am going to want to ask people interesting questions. I am going to want to engage at a new level. That is ultimately going to make me more interesting as well. But it is also going to empower other people around me to also share what is interesting about them.

Ultimately that is what we do, that’s what we do as coaches; we want to engage other people in their own conversation to bring out what is great in them, to help them share their story, to help them really understand their powerful message in the world and how we can drag it out of them.

I am going to give you one easy tip that you can apply immediately at a networking event. The next networking event you go to, I actually want you to apply this tip.

At networking events, everyone is walking around asking “What do you do?” You get so tired of repeating your elevator pitch over and over, right? Now you get to a certain phase in business where you can’t even say it any more, because it is even boring me to say what it is that I do.

A better question to ask, so instead of tell me about what you do? Instead of asking that, ask them something they have probably never been asked before at that type of event. So instead of what do you? Instead of, where are you from? Those are questions that are overplayed. How are you? Don’t ask those.

Instead, I want you to be the one that asks the most interesting questions, and is truly interested in what the person has to say.

So for example you might ask, so what sports did you play in high school? Imagine someone comes up to you and says, what sports did you play in high school? They would be like, oh gosh, well gee, I played basketball and volleyball, I was a cheerleader, I was a dancer, but more than anything I loved was– they go into it. If you are truly interested– you know how sometimes you see people and you’re like, I bet that guy was a wrestler in high school, or that guy a total basketball player, that one, he was in a band, right? So if you walk up to someone, what instrument did you play when you were in the band? Don’t you think they would be like, how did you know I was in the band?

All of a sudden I’m engaged, I want to talk to that person. That is how you become far more interesting.

Now people are like, now I want to talk to that person. Look how she is getting everyone going in this conversation. So great questions, silly things like, what did you do in high school? What sport did you play? You might even ask them a future question like, tell me about something you are super excited about that is going to happen in the next six months to a year? Now they are like, oh well I have this cool vacation I have been planning. Maybe they will be like, oh I just can’t wait for my website to be launched. Tell me about your website, who did you work with? You start to understand them a little bit better. That’s what it’s all about, to be more interesting.

So one little assignment for you on this is I would like for you to write three to five questions that you would think would be cool if you showed up at a networking event or a place where you want to connect with people. What are the questions you want to ask, that you can kind of get comfortable asking too?

Here are three assignments if you’d like to try this out:

What things do you want to explore that will make you more interesting?

What are the things you want to explore, that you want to do, that you know are going to make you more interesting? So ideas would be like food, sports, fitness activities, exploring, travel, maybe even cooking, DIY projects around the house. Think about what you could do that would make you more interesting.

Write your story bank.

Your story bank is going to be what you pull stories from when you are on podcasts, or when you are connecting with new clients, or when you are at a networking event, or on a first date.

Write a list of really cool questions.

These are questions that you would feel confident asking at networking events, or when you meet new people, so you can be more interested in what they are doing. Of course that is going to make you look more interesting too.

All these things are going to allow you to connect, to truly connect at a deeper level with people no matter who they are. Because what you are really doing here is getting over the hub-bub of accomplishments, and getting straight to who they are as a person.