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Four Simple Tips for Deeper Personal Connection with Others

To truly connect with others, you might think of a card game.  You flip over your card to see what is really there.   And to see is to really listen to the other person and see things as they appear from the other side. We are often quick to judge and label others.  After all, […]

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To truly connect with others, you might think of a card game.  You flip over your card to see what is really there.   And to see is to really listen to the other person and see things as they appear from the other side.

We are often quick to judge and label others.  After all, labels can help us feel safe and make sense of the world.  For example, you might label someone as “selfish” or “inconsiderate” for not doing what they promised to do.  Or maybe “ignorant” if they said something that hurt you.

Labeling is also common in our professional lives.  In an important business negotiation, for example, you might label your counterpart a “jerk” when he refuses to agree to anything.

All of a sudden, connection is lost.  You might even call it quits and end the relationship or negotiation and head to court.  So instead of labeling, try looking.  Flip over that card and find out what’s there by first listening – really listening.

Listening is a lost art.  It’s also an essential life skill.  But these days, conversations often consist of trying to be heard or planning responses in our head while the other talks. Or worse, which happens with phone or virtual conversations, multitasking in the background.

In any event, whenever anyone feels unheard, we become disconnected from one another.  Here are 4 simple tips for deeper connections with others, whether at home or at work:

1.        Maintain eye contact and hear them out.

Allow the other person to finish talking.  If you catch yourself interrupting, you might simply apologize and let them finish what they’re saying.

2.        Listen for what they want from you.

One thing I’ve come to learn (with difficulty) is not to give unsolicited advice.  If someone wants your advice or opinion, they’ll ask.  If you’re not sure, it’s generally a good idea to ask first if they’d like your opinion.   Many times, people simply want to blow off steam or need a shoulder to lean on.

3.        Picture yourself as the other person in that moment.

When you’re truly listening, you’re in a sort of “zone.”  You’re not thinking of yourself or judging.  Essentially, you’re seeing things solely in the way the other person sees them.

4.        Acknowledge.

When you’re in that listening zone, you’re likely to naturally indicate your understanding. You might be inclined to nod your head, for instance, or say something like “yes” or “I hear you.”

Listening is crucial to connecting in every area of our lives.  And when we connect with others, we all win. So flip over that card and see what’s on the other side.

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