A connection can be defined as an exchange of emotion. Connections are so important that a lack in that area is worse for your health than smoking or diabetes. In fact, the brain interprets social isolation in the same way that it interprets physical pain. Sean Stephenson’s article, “13 Steps to Build Meaningful, Human Connections with Anyone,” lays out 13 techniques that build lasting connections with others.
- Ask a person their name, repeat it to them, and use it again during your conversation. (A person’s name is part of their identity, so saying it shows that you are remembering them.)
- Give the person you’re with 100% of your focus so that they feel seen.
- Ask the other person for their opinion. You don’t have to agree with them. It is a gesture that shows that you value what they have to say, and it’s more likely that they will value what you have to say.
- 55% of the information we take in about another person is nonverbal. Physical contact, such as on the shoulder — timed correctly — increases dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. In addition, it lowers cortisol levels A.K.A. stress hormones. (One caveat to males: I’ve seen a male waiter use this technique with a female customer at a restaurant, and it had the opposite effect.)
- Smile with your whole body, especially your eyes. The same mirror neurons that cause you to yawn when you see another person yawn also cause you to return a person’s smile.
- Share your wisdom in a playful way. Intuition is wisdom. You have so much to share because of your experiences. It is up to the other person to accept or decline your wisdom.
- Pause for 3 seconds instead of immediately reacting to what the other person said. You learn more about the other person and don’t inadvertently cut them off.
- Lower and smoother voices signal to us that the speaker is calm, competent, and in control of their energy. These qualities intimate power.
- Ask creative questions to make a strong first impression. (“What’s the best thing that happened to you today?” “What’s the one thing you’ve always wanted to do because it could change your life, but you were too scared to start?” “What gets you out of bed in the morning?”)
- Be confident instead of arrogant. A confident person works to improve a relationship, while an arrogant person has to be right and prove themselves to the other person.
- Find the balance in a conversation between domination and disappearance. Each of you should be talking 50% of the time.
- Celebrate and praise the other person, preferably publicly.
- Be vulnerable, and share your less-than-perfectness.
Which of these tips have you had success with in the past? Which one of the tips seems the most difficult? Are there any tips you’ve used that aren’t on the list?