Reach Out and Connect

When you’re reaching out to connect to people, then by all means do it.
In a society where connecting is more and more limited to less and less; that is to say less face to face communication and more electronic interaction, with less content. Today, we maintain such a high pace and level of activity, that we don’t have time for anyone else but that which we focus on.

What are we focusing on that is so important, and what do we have to show for it?

I don’t know; let me check how many people liked my last post?

It looks, to me, like there is some force at work in the background of our society to keep us so busy doing nothing and keeps us separated with an artificial sense of remaining connected. Whether there is any underlying purpose, or not, the fact of the matter is that our culture is changing, and it you want to connect with someone in a relationship, a business affiliation, or as part of a movement, you’re going to have to have a different approach.

Technology is definitely a part of how we connect, there’s no denying that, but do something more. Yes, connect with each other on social media, but If you want more out of this relationship than a tick on your social media account create a better connection by offering something of value.

I always try to leave someone better than when I met them, if I can. Encourage them, help them see the good in something they thought was not, give them something that could potentially change the way they previously thought about something, or help them imagine what a better life might look like.

None of this is tangible or costs you anything but a few moments of your time, yet can be extremely valuable. Value does not depend on your cash outlay, or a retail price, but more value is placed on things that touch our hearts, or make us feel something.

If you can leave them with something to touch that they can keep with them, even better. Even with business cards fading into the dark ages, I still think of them as a physical item that can be put in someone’s hand. It may have little or no value, but to remind them of you and your conversation (hopefully it was a good one). It doesn’t have to be a business card, it could be anything, a lucky penny or stone, a napkin with your name and email scrawled on it or something that might cause them to remember this meeting sometime after departure.

They may not reach out to you, but BRAVO, you’ve made a connection, one that has a potential of being more meaningful than a new Facebook “friend” or Twitter follower.

If I want to hear from someone again, I like to give them a reason to contact me; so I’m likely to ask them to do something that they can get back to me on. Most of the time, they don’t (not soon, anyway) but it’s given them something to think about, and it gives them an excuse to reach out to me and create an even more meaningful connection.

I hope the future of relationships is not on the brink of vanishing from the planet altogether. The good news is that people still desire connection, and they’re supporting it with their dollars. They are willing to pay to feel like they are a part of something, and “connection” is the only thing that businesses are effectively using to compete with the big corporations.

This is a very good sign that there is hope for connectedness in the future.

If you don’t believe me, just ask your hairdresser.

Reach out, connect face-to-face, give them a talisman, an invitation to follow up, and bless them.

Relationship Skills for a Better Life

Since you do not live in a vacuum, you are surrounded by a wide variety of people who add color and depth to your human experience, how you manage these people (or how they manage you) are based on your relationship skills.

Relationships come in all shapes and sizes from spousal, cohabitation, familial, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. Sometimes, family (our closest relationships) are the most difficult to manage.

Probably, the most important skill you can have in managing your relationships is communication. How adept or inept you are at demonstrating your communication skills can have a huge impact on the relationships you manage.

It’s pretty apparent if you possess pathetic communication skills. For instance, people constantly misunderstand what you’re trying to say, you are prone to get into heated debates (even though you may feel like you’re winning), and your emotions run high when you are talking to someone about something that is important to you (and more likely, not positive emotions). Is it any wonder people are less likely to want to be in your presence?

By building your relationship skills, you can develop deeper, more meaningful relationships, which promotes more success, abundance, and happiness in your life.

Some things you might consider in building your relationship skills might be,

When a conversation is heading into difficult territory, avoid bringing up the past. By staying current, you and the other participants are less likely to be defensive of fill like they’re being attacked.

Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What might it look like from their point of view, having lived the life they’ve lived? Sticking to your guns, and not allowing someone to see, think of feel differently, only causes separation, while allowing people to be who they are creates more affinity.

Pay attention to what they’re saying. Use active listening skills by repeating what they’ve said in your own words to acknowledge them and let them know you’re understanding what they’re saying.

When somebody says something that is contrary to what you might believe, or you’re feeling criticized or challenged, don’t ready yourself for a battle. Try not to be so defensive, and respond with an affirmative, “Oh, that’s interesting.” And if they try to pick a fight, don’t let them drag you into destructive banter. Stay your ground and remain positive.

Give up the idea of winning and seek ways you can arrive at compromise. Finding a way to compromise means “everyone wins.” Avoid win/lose conversations or situations, and don’t settle for win/lose compromise where one party is making all the concessions. Make sure both parties give-in and both parties get some of the important things they wanted.

If the conversation is getting heated and emotions are rising, take a break. Agree to do something else for a pre-determined amount of time and return to the subject at hand, after taking a break, when you are refreshed and can revisit the topic with clear heads and hearts.

Blaming someone never accomplishes anything but causing more division. Find ways to take responsibility for whatever you can. This helps to relieve the pressure, plus it gives you more control, the more responsibility you take. Why? Because you’re the only one who can control you.

If you think things are getting away from you, then seek a coach, counselor or consultant who can advise and act as a mediator to break through any barriers you may be facing.

Make time to cultivate your relationships. Don’t let texting or social media be your only connection method. There’s nothing that compares to authentic face-to-face time. Create opportunities for more in-person conversation, leading to a deeper, more meaningful connection.

It’s not just enough to be in the presence of someone, like at a movie, or a conference. Make time for a little face-to-face interaction before, after, or during breaks to communicate and interconnect directly.

If you’re not in the habit of it, be bold enough to freak out your friends and family by calling them via voice phone (no texting allowed, here) for no other reason, just to say, “Hi,” without any agenda, other than to let them know you were thinking about him or her.

If someone is important to you, let them know, even if only in some small way. Send them a note, or some small token of your affection, thanking them for being a positive influence in your life. These people help give your life meaning.

If your relationship is built on a foundation of love, don’t be afraid to let them know, if not by words, then by touching them appropriately while communicating with them, or greet them with a light hug or some other appropriate gesture.

Weave Your Own Web Around the World

We’re all here, players in each other’s life dramas. In some ways we’re all one and in others, there’s really no one but you. And it’s all true. How confusing is that? The best you can do is to play along at the best of your ability.

So, play along, reach out and be a connector. Find ways to connect with other people and find ways to connect others to each other. Be a web weaver of the world.

It all stats with you, so get out there and start networking (and overused word, but adequate). This is a great excuse for you to get out and start connecting. As you connect, try to get to know about something significant about that person, what is their gift, calling, or at the very least, “what do they do?” Care enough to get a way to contact them, even if you aren’t able to see a need of their services for you.

Because as you weave your web around the world you are able to connect people with one another, stretching your web of connectivity throughout the world. Being a connector is invaluable. Some of my favorite people are massive connectors. Be a connector.

Reaching out to people face-to-face is by far the best way to meet people because it helps you get past the superficiality of a person’s cover story. Certainly, there is a wave of acceptance that comes from social media interaction, but still this is only superficial. An authentic connection can only be made hand to hand, eye to eye. Even video chat can’t compete with that.

Think about it… Are you more likely to feel as though you know someone if you’ve met them face to face, or viewed their facebook or linkedin profile and exchanged a few messages or emails?

You want to make yourself available to the people you meet. Doing so without expecting anything in return. For instance, if you meet someone who needs a publicity agent and you introduce them to someone you’ve just met who is one of the best in their field, and you connect them. They go on to do great things in the world, and they don’t forget what you did for them.

This endears them to you, and they will feel a sense of wanting to return the favor someday. It’s just the nature of being a connector, if you’re not using your connectivity as a method to manipulate others, because this energy will be felt by heart-centered individuals, and this will actually repel them from feeling a sensitivity towards you and your cause(s).

When you’re fortunate to get to meet someone face-to-face, get to know them at a deeper level. When I am blessed enough to meet someone, I try to find out more about them than is represented on their business card, web site or facebook profile. You don’t get this chance every day, find out where their heart beats.

Connect like-minded people. As you get to know people better, you’re more able to interconnect them powerfully, heart-to-heart. People who are connected, working together, who share a similar vibrational resonance will far outperform non-like-minded individuals trying to work on a project.

Reach out to other connectors who are also building their own webs of connectivity. This can expand your connectiveness exponentially. Social media is an excellent method to find other connectors, but remember, if you really want to connect, seek a way to get face to face, and offer them your best, expecting nothing in return.

Connections fade away if they are not nurtured, so stay in touch and create opportunities to connect even more with your people. You cannot survive in a vacuum. Check in with them without being salesy or spammy. If you’ve connected with them authentically, your people will want to stay in touch.

As your network builds, calling on the phone becomes less efficient, and I think your people understand this, so it’s okay to reach out in less effective methods, like via email, or private message. They will understand, but still want to keep in touch.

If you’ve connected people, and things don’t work out, offer to lend a hand in making things right. This will turnaround a potentially tragic scenario into a massive, “save,” and you emerge the hero.

Be dependable, reliable, authentic and integrous in all your interconnectedness while web weaving all around the world.

Want to meet people? Be the creator of opportunities for face to face interconnections by creating your own social and networking events. Get out there and create your own events. Yes, you can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to put on a posh event, but you can charge or fundraise to support the overhead. Just make sure you over-deliver.

And once you start – don’t stop. Everyone is watching you, to see if you’re inauthentic, or just out to promote yourself or make a fast buck. No, give, give, and give… and keep giving. It takes a while to build trust among your people, especially those in the fringe, who are considering moving through the crowd to get to you.

Stay on the task and keep weaving your own web around the world.

Communication and Connection

We are, all of us, ingredients of the human soup. There’s no formal step-by-step recipe, we’re just all lumped together into the boiling pot of life. How do you like that?

All of us are ingredients in different soups, all simmering throughout our lives, and some of us have many soups simmering throughout our days. There’s the home soup, the partner soup, the work soup, the travel soup, the school soup, the news soup, the friend soup, the shopping soup, the spiritual soup,  the community soup, the world soup… it goes on and on. You’re managing more soups that Campbell’s.

If we’re all going to be in this soup together, don’t you think we should find ways to interact with each other while we’re in the soup together?

No matter what kind of soup you’re in, your ability to effectively communicate with the other ingredients in the soup can lead to the creation of the best tasting and satisfying soup experience.

To better communicate with people, try not being rude. If you’re in the habit of interrupting or finishing sentences for someone, try letting them finish their own sentences. When you cut them off, they may be reluctant to re-engage and you may lose creating a connection with this person. Let your conversation be inviting and encouraging the other person to expound on their thoughts and reach even deeper in their relation to you. Not cutting off someone mid-sentence or thought, invites them to be more open, creating an environment for greater connection.

While you’re not interrupting, you might consider really making the effort to listen intently to what they’re saying and indicating you are listening by not only acknowledging you are listening, to verify by feeding what they are saying back to them. When you’re actively listening in this manner, you are less inclined to be thinking more about what you will say next. When you’re not actively listening, you may only be picking up key words and phrases and planning your response. Not listening intently could have you missing something of importance.

Don’t let your thoughts drift off or otherwise disconnect from the conversation. Even if you disagree with what the other person is saying, let them say their piece. Don’t take a defensive position and let them know you have respect for their point of view.

Try to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground by resisting the temptation of exaggerating opinions, circumstances of facts in an attempt to gain control or superiority when engaged in a difficult conversation. Don’t use exclusive hyperbole such as, “You never,” or, “You always.” Rarely, if ever, are these exaggerated claims ever true.

Seeking to affix blame onto someone else, only distracts from the ability to resolve or come to a logical conclusion in any circumstance, while setting the base tone of that conversation in a negative vibration from that point forward. You can only change or affect anything that you take responsibility for.

When you are conversing and potentially creating a connection with someone resist the temptation to reach into the past bringing up and breathing life into otherwise dead issues. Try to keep your conversation current, in the present tense. Anchoring people in the past is far from the integrous intention of focusing on the now. Often the past casts a haze on the clarity of what is transpiring today.

No one’s position has ever been converted by debate. So avoid this type of adversarial conversation at all costs. All debating does is to bolster and further solidify the other person’s position while promoting separation. Keeping the conversation open, honest and permeable fosters an environment where people are willing to let down their guards, and allow the conversation to reach a deeper level of connection. In this state, people are more vulnerable and may be more open to new ideas, or even question dogma.

Surrender any inclination you might have to win in any conversation. Always be open to the idea that your desire is to arrive at a mutually beneficial resolution without causing emotional distress. Honor what the other person has to say. Let your conversation be fueled by love and mutual respect, not the need to dominate the verbal exchange or to be the winner (which implies that the person you’re talking to is the loser).

In the event that things are getting emotionally charged, tense or heated, take a break. A brief time out can be appropriate and allow each of you to re-center yourselves. You don’t necessarily have to break exposure to each other completely (like leaving the room or taking a walk) as this might look like abandonment. Instead, think about offering to change the subject completely to something you both can enjoy taking about while agreeing to resume the difficult conversation following the brief recess. Approaching a difficult conversation after a break can help to let parties think more freely and openly when their emotions aren’t overriding their ability to effectively communicate or connect.

If you have differing points of view, honor the other person’s point of view. Think about it; don’t you want the other person to honor and respect your point of view? Of course, you do. So, doesn’t it just make so much sense to treat the person with whom you are trying to conversate or connect with the same respect? It’s up to you to set the proper environment of respect and potential connection. Certainly, you need to be able to express your opinion or offer you unique perspective or share your concerns, but do so motivated by love, not aggression.

I am regularly remembering the advice of Steven Covey, to “Always seek win-win,” (habit #4 of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) in any conversation. By applying these methods of effectively communicating and connecting via earnest conversation, everyone wins, no matter what soup you’re in.

 

Are You a Curious Cat? Ask Questions

If you are a curious cat, ask questions.

As evolved as you might be, no one could possibly know everything, and if you’re like me, you have a lust for understanding, knowledge and seeing things from alternate perspectives. There are some things that are not offered as college classes, and the only way you could possibly have access to this information is to research it on your own and to query others who may have some knowledge or information about any particular topic.

Don’t be afraid. If you’re curious, ask questions. This is a powerful approach to higher learning.

Are You a Curious Cat? Ask Questions
Are you a curious cat? Ask questions.

If you’re of the persuasion to be more curious than your peers, the way you go about asking questions can make a difference. Here are some things to keep in mind that will support your curiosity, without being offensive to those who may have the answer to your questions.

Think about how you like to be approached by someone asking questions. Who gets access to the best information? If you’re like me, it’s the people who have a connection with and care about me.

Be Authentic

You don’t want to seem like you’re an underground reporter for the National Enquirer. People who have access to information or experiences that few of the rest of us have access to are used to being queried about the surface questions, dirty secrets or tabloid-worthy aspects of their particular area of expertise.

Since they are used to having people inquire about their area of expertise, they are normally somewhat on guard and have standard surface replies or sound bites that satisfy the people who ask them questions about what they do, where they’ve been, or what they know. If you want to get to the deeper knowledge or meaning, you need to connect with them and gain their trust.

What Are You Looking For?

Have an idea about what you’d like to know. If you have time, prepare by getting some basic information on their area of expertise beforehand. The Internet can be a powerful tool in preparing you with the basics, as well as possibly indicating questions that others may have about the topic.

If most of your opportunities are spontaneous, you can use this opportunity to honestly state upfront that you are a novice in their area a expertise, and first desire to know some basics.

Exercise Humility

Try to ask questions that come up along the way, while remembering to find was to relate their area of expertise to their personal life, without getting too personal. Once they have briefed you on the basics, you can dig deeper because you are respecting their position as the master, and you as the learner. They are more likely to divulge more than surface information to someone who sees them as more of a mentor. So, honor them with this respect.

Never exert your expertise or knowledge indicating that you are to be considered a comrade on an equal level. There’s no more certain way to get them to not let you in too deep. Don’t challenge them or appear to be adversarial, rather take on the perspective of a respectful student and you will learn more by being humble.

Give and Receive

Certainly, when you are the inquisitor, you are receptive to any information you might be able to gain access to, but seek to give even more. While you may not be an expert in their arena of knowledge, caring about them as a person, and also showing an interest in him or her as a person can help them engage more freely and openly.

One thing I do when I am in a powerful opportunity to exchange information is to add value to them by being open to the idea that the person I’m talking to, the keeper of the information, can learn something from me, or see something from a different perspective, from engaging in a conversation with me.

Even though I might know very little about their area of expertise, quite often, their own knowledge can somewhat expand, and they might even be inspired to dig deeper or start asking new questions as a light goes on inside their head or heart.

Listen and Connect

If you’re blessed enough to be experiencing an exchange of information with this person, then by all means be very attentive and listen to what they have to say. Feed their own words back to them and try to put your own understanding into it to gain a better understanding of what they are saying. This also communicates to them that you are interested in what they have to say.

Active listening creates a connection between people. This connection will indicate you are not just out to obtain data, or are merely passing the time away. Connected people communicate on a higher level.

Is There Anything You Can Do?

As you are exchanging information with this person, be thinking about ways you can support them, their effort (even if it’s just emotional support and empathy), or know someone who might be able to help their cause. You want to be supportive. Your support is not just limited to you, your skills, abilities, or personal resources; it also includes your network of family, friends and other connections. You might be able to refer them to an article or book you have read recently.

The more supportive you are to them, the more likely they will be to continue the conversation. By being interested in, and offering assistance to them and their cause, the more likely they will be to offer to help you out, quid pro quo.

Keep the Door Open

Once you have made a connection with someone, keep the door open. In this day and age everyone is busy, if this person reaches out to you, do not ignore them. Don’t let them monopolize your attention, but keep in contact, briefly (use your resources, such as email, text or brief phone calls). By keeping the door open and maintaining connection, this may come in handy and put you in an advantageous position to be invited to participate in something, or be referred to someone, you might not have otherwise had access to.

If you put them off or ignore them, your connection is lost.

Keep asking questions. Keep learning from others when you have the opportunity.

Are You a Curious Cat? Ask Questions.