Everyone Communicates Few Connect

Everyone Communicates Few Connect

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Everyone Communicates, Few Connect by leadership expert John Maxwell, discusses what the most effective people do differently in terms of communication. John Maxwell’s book is designed to instruct us on how to make all communication an opportunity for powerful connections.  There are ten principles and practices for communicating one-on-one, in small groups, and with an audience that increase your ability to make meaningful connections.

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect by leadership expert John Maxwell, discusses what the most effective people do differently in terms of communication. John Maxwell’s book is designed to instruct us on how to make all communication an opportunity for powerful connections.  There are ten principles and practices for communicating one-on-one, in small groups, and with an audience that increase your ability to make meaningful connections.   Part I of Dr. Maxwell’s book teaches us the Principles of effective communication practices.

Connecting Increases Your Influence in Every Situation

“The ability to connect with others begins with understanding the value of people. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, observes, ‘Those who build great companies understand that the ultimate throttle on growth for any great company is not markets, or technology, or competition, or products. It is the one thing above all others – the ability to get and keep enough of the right people.’ You do that by connecting with these people.” You can apply this to a one-on-one, group, and audience setting. In a one-on-one situation, ask lots of questions and come prepared to allow the other person talk more. In a group setting, your attitude should be focused on the best interest of the group. This means taking the backseat at times to let others take the credit for the successes of the group. With an audience, express your enthusiasm to be in their company and remind them of the value they add to you.

Connecting Is All About Others

“Maturity is the ability to see and act on behalf of others”, Maxwell writes. Focus on what’s important to them. Creating good and long-lasting connections starts by showing the other person that they are valued.  This involves listening to find out what they value.  Your relationship will flourish when you both share the things that you hold most meaningful. Three basic questions to ask for a genuine connection. As John Maxwell asserts: “…. You must be able to communicate that attitude of selflessness. How do you do that? I believe you do it by answering three questions that people always ask themselves when interacting with others, whether as client, customer, guest, audience member, friend, colleague, or employee:

  • Do you care for me?
  • Can you Help me?
  • Can I trust you?

Connecting Goes Beyond Words

“More than 90 percent of the impression we often convey has nothing to do with what we actually say.” Three things we must include when we try to communicate: A thought: something we know An emotion: something we feel An action: something we do When you communicate with others, you should be including four components in your message:

  1. Visual
  2. Intellectual
  3. Emotional
  4. Verbal

“Any message you try to convey must contain a piece of you.”  

In summary, when we connect, it’s more than just a verbal connection – we must be engaged emotionally, visually, and intellectually as well. Have an open and friendly demeanor; keep good posture and mental composure.  Your expressions should remain inviting. You will do yourself a disservice if you are not portraying your authentic self, so speak from experience and be aware of your surroundings. Keep in mind some of these quotations from this section that speak to the importance of being yourself when communicating with others: “The colossal misunderstanding of our time is the assumption that insight will work with people who are unmotivated to change. … People can only hear you when they are moving toward you, and they are not likely to when your words are pursuing them……” “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.” “They will not always remember what you did.  But, they will always remember how you made them feel.”

Connecting Always Requires Energy

Connecting with others is an intentional process that requires personal energy. In order to be successful in your connections, you must use strategic methods to channel your energy. “I’ve learned that if you want people to be impressed, you can talk about your successes; but if you want people to identify with you, it’s better to talk about your failures.”

  1. Connecting Requires Initiative … Go First
  2. Connecting requires Clarity…. Prepare
  3. Connecting requires Patience .. Slow down
  4. Connecting requires Selflessness … Give
  5. Connecting requires Stamina… Recharge

There are four communicator sins that Dr. Maxwell instructs us on in this section: being unprepared, uncommitted, uninteresting, and uncomfortable. They are known as “sins” because they display a lack of energy. The characteristics that make a good communicator are smiling, confidence, showing interest in others, and taking initiative. A person who embodies these characteristics will make others more comfortable sharing their own stories and experiences. It’s important that you get to know the things they care about. Learning about those you wish to connect with is all in an effort to understand what you can offer them. Another integral part of this section is leaning the the distinguishing factors between givers and takers. D. Maxwell reminds us that worthwhile communication requires giving yourself. So what is required in giving yourself? Things like love, grace, and compassion are characteristics of a giver. Those who allow ego, insecurity, or need to infiltrate into their communications are acting as takers. Most importantly, givers know what energizes them and gives them the stamina to continue on this course of good and effective communication. Learning what gives you energy and inspires you is part of the regular routine of someone who gives.

Connecting is More Skill than Natural Talent

Great communicators are not all cut from the same cloth. But they do all share the ability to connect. That does not develop by accident. You cannot expect to succeed through dumb luck. You must learn to connect with others by making the most of whatever skills and experience you have.” – John Maxwell

The whole point is nobody ever has all these factors aligned right out of the box. All highly effective communicators start out as being less effective at first but then keep working at it. You will have to follow the same development trajectory for yourself. Below are testimonials of John Maxwell by those who have used his programs and resources. This is an example of the type of credibility John Maxwell has procured.

“The Maxwell plan for personal growth is an invaluable system to maximize the most overlooked and precious asset we have, our lives!” – Greg Smith Being chosen as a member of the circle was a dream come true because of the quality of the people involved and the opportunity to hear John respond to their questions.” – Don Howe, Chief Executive Officer of How Insurance Services “No matter where you are in your stage of life, this program will have a positive impact on your and your organization.” – Larry Leahy, Foundation Management Services

Part II of  Everyone Communicates is about learning the Connecting Practices.

Connectors Connect on Common Ground “If I had to pick a first rule of communication – the practice above all others that opens the door to connection with others – it would be to look for common ground…..” – John Maxwell. “It’s difficult to find common ground with others when the only person you’re focused on is yourself!” According to the author, there are four main barriers that can cause people to struggle to find common ground:

  1. Assumptions – Assuming is more or less a short cut, but gravely detrimental to the overall communication. “Indifference is really a form of selfishness”, Dr. Maxwell tells us. Where there is indifference for the other person, there is a lack of empathy, leading to ineffective connections. There are clues that you can perceive when someone else is indifferent to you. Watch for these. Some people are under the impression that getting to know the other person is not vital.
  2. Arrogance – “You can’t build a relationship with everybody in the room when you don’t care about anybody in the room.”
  3. Indifference – When you can’t be bothered to make an effort to figure out what others want or need. The bottom line is that indifference is really a form of selfishness.
  4. Fear of loss of control – As a good leader is inclusive to all. This comes back to finding common ground with those you’re communicating with. You make decisions together, and never isolate yourself. Collaboration is key here.

“If you can learn to pinpoint how those around you experience the world, and really try to experience the same world they do, you’ll be amazed at how effective your communication will become.” This section is about learning what it takes to understand others and creating a mutually beneficial agreement. Take your time finding common ground. It’s not a race. Intentionality and your availability to others will help pave the road to common ground. A good connection between people is reliant on both parties openness.

Connectors Do the Difficult Work of Keeping It Simple

The way you talk to someone is indicative of the type of person you are. So, talk to them as equals. You also have to be clear and concise about your ideas. If you cannot do this, then it probably means that you do not yet understand the ideas properly. The goals is to present your ideas clearly. Dr. Maxwell suggests that we ask ourselves two questions: What do I want them to know? and What do I want them to do?  Be transparent about your bottom line. People will appreciate your straightforwardness.  Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. This repetition will help drive your point. “…. But as leaders and communicators, our job is to bring clarity to a subject, not complexity. It doesn’t take nearly as much skill to identify a problem as it doesn’t to find a good solution. The measure of a great teacher isn’t what he or she knows; it’s what the students know. Making things simple is a skill, and it’s a necessary one if you want to connect with people when you communicate.” The art of simplicity consist of few following points:

  1. Talk to people, Not above them
  2. Get to the point
  3. Say it over and over and over and over again
  4. Say it clearly
  5. Say it less

Connectors Create an Experience Everyone Enjoys

As a speaker, you should be dynamic. This means using quotes and stories to bring your speech to life. Being boring has never worked for anyone. By utilizing illustrations and other mediums, you will maintain their attention. If you can harness their point of view, try to explain things from their perspective. Instead of using lots of big words or difficult concepts, speak from the heart.  Create a personalized message that allows your audience to connect with you. It doesn’t take much for people to find reasons to distrust you. You can get ahead of this by staying honest and energizing your speech with personal anecdotes and experiences. Prepare and try to use this seven points to communicate:

  1. Take responsibility for your listeners
  2. Communicate in their world
  3. Capture people’s attention from the start
  4. Activate your audience
  5. Say it so it sticks
  6. Be visual
  7. Tell stories

Work to create the right experience for your communication setting. For instance, you should begin by offering something interesting about the situation. Make sure that you introduce yourself and display a calm demeanour. Lots of people utilize humor as a means to bond with their audience. What you are seeking to do with all of these devices is to create a sense of anticipation among your audience to get them involved with what you’re saying. It’s also important that you tailor your content to the needs of your audience. Give them an opportunity to ask questions and engage with you. If you use terminology and phrases that are impactful, your listeners are more apt to connect with you and what you’re saying. Infuse your speech with imagination and creativity. If you use effective body language and facial expressions, this will also stimulate your audience.   “Connecting isn’t primarily about learning to become a better presenter.  It’s about becoming the kind of person others want to connect with.”

Connectors Inspire People

“My energy for my work has often been dependent upon the inspirational qualities of the person who led it.” Use this model to achieve inspiration: People remember those who display a caring attitude and make them feel understood. Before rushing to share your thoughts, take time to listen to that of others’. You can show them your expectations of them by asking them questions that encourage growth. Displaying enthusiasm will make them respond to you with equal excitement. With your smile and appreciation, others will recognize your interest in them. Good character is portrayed not only by the right words, but by being an active listener and participant.  

Connecting with people isn’t achieved by merely entertaining them and making them feel good. You have to lead them to action based around what you’re saying. Put in another way, you have to say the words which will spark them into action and give them a plan for what needs to happen. Connectors provide the bridge between what people know they should be doing and what they walk out of the room committed to do tomorrow. “The true purpose of inspiration isn’t applause. Its value isn’t in the wonder it may create or the positive feelings it may invoke in others. The true test of inspiration is action. This is what makes a difference. If you desire to connect with others, you must strive to inspire people.” – John Maxwell

Connectors Live What They Communicate

“Credibility is currency for leaders and communicators.  With it, they are solvent; without it, they are bankrupt.” Be the example of the message in which you wish to communicate. Ask yourself if you would connect with you. People seek connections in others who are empathetic and understanding. So take time developing yourself and your personal message. To enhance your communication and personal integrity level:

  1. You are your message
  2. Connect with yourself
  3. Right your wrongs
  4. Be accountable
  5. Lead the way you live
  6. Tell the truth
  7. Be vulnerable
  8. Follow the golden rule
  9. Deliver results

To be successful and to make a tangible difference in the world, you have to be a good communicator but even more you have to connect. To keep connecting over the long haul, you have to live what you’re saying. Begin with yourself and make certain what you say is consistent with what you feel and what you do every day. Model what you’re trying to suggest and there are no limits to what you can and will accomplish.

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