Most of my life I never felt like I had enough in common with anyone. I was shy, I would never talk to people I didn’t know beforehand, If I did, it was usually awkward and hard for me to do. Rarely did I make friends with people that weren’t from my social circle. The majority of my friends came from either work or school; since we are forced to interact. However to actually create a relationship with random people outside of school and work was not something I really ever attempted to do.
I overcame my shyness by constantly forcing myself to push my comfort-zone, however there is one thing in particular that really helped me. I can now see what I didn’t before; I can see what will allow me to connect with everyone I want to connect with at this point in life.
Here is one thing that really opened the doors for me and has allowed me to connect with many people over the years on a new level…
This isn’t a big huge secret. A lot of us can shake our heads and say to ourselves, “Yes I knew that.” Nevertheless, not many of us really care about what another person is saying when talking to them. Most of the time we listen just enough to inject our own opinion about whatever is going on in our own minds, but fail to really think about what the other person was trying to tell us.
I challenge you to pay attention to an interaction between a couple of people the next time you are hanging out in a public place. You may notice that most of the time we tend to consider everyone else’s point of view as a lower stand-point in many cases. The truth is many of us think we have “the right view” on things and this is common among the majority of people; hence just our nature. We want to be heard and to voice our opinions, like we all have some life-changing news that no one else has thought of yet.
Have you ever noticed how people get along better when they have similar opinions?
People actually listen better and take more notice to what is being said when opinions match. The reality is that people experience a connection easiest when they have similar views. For example, a lot of times when we’ve known someone for awhile (Friends and family) then it’s a lot easier to have meaningful conversation. One of the main reasons that many people become friends in the first is because they have a lot of similar beliefs. Your family will also have similar views; since you have probably talked with them about a lot more than anyone else, if you grew up around them. Which is exactly why people that are forced to be around each other a lot tend to find a lot more in common and, not always, but will often become good friends.
However, we are still left with the majority of the people we meet not having similar opinions or views like ours. The harsh reality of what I’ve come to experience is that most will not think the same as us and are unwilling to change their views. And many of us interpret people’s thoughts by what we hear come out of their mouths.
The reality of what we say is just a glimpse of what we really think. The things you need to pay attention to so you can read people better is not what we say, but our reasons for saying it. What motivated this person to say what they said? When we find out that motivation we can better understand who that person is and what they view as important.
We are hardly ever trying to share any kind of useful information with whoever is listening. Almost always the person speaking is speaking based on their current state of mind. The words we say are based on our emotions, our judgments, our pain and happiness. Let’s say someone you know is talking about work, this doesn’t mean they are wanting advice. What they want is to express what is on their mind and release it from their thoughts. Learn to listen to them and they will be thankful. They will appreciate that you care and after they will be much more willing to care for what you have to say.
It really doesn’t matter what kind of story the person is giving you, be the most appreciative listener and watch them begin to open up to you. Make them as comofortable as possible and let them see that you are fascinated. Allow them to share what they have to say, regardless of what you think or what you would have done in their place.
The key is to understand that people say things that they deeply value. Noticing what people value can help you relate and decide whether you like them as well. If you think they are worthwhile and living for a good cause, then you can create a positive connection. When you listen long enough, then you might even realize that you can find something in common with most people.
I don’t really pay much attention to gold, however I do have friends that do. It doesn’t really matter what you have in common; you can just state that you have a friend with similar interests and connect relatively well. There’s no need to judge and it’s best to keep your judgements to yourself; like I mentioned before. You are not relating when you force your opinions on others. Judging does nothing productive in conversation and should therefore be excluded entirely.
Just knowing what it feels like to be passionate about something is enough to relate with anyone. You really have to focus on where they are coming from though. The truth is that the majority of us are way more bent on being heard than actually hearing what others have to say. People that can get used to hearing what others have to say are never going to have any problems keeping people around them.
There is a little thing that keeps us from connecting and it’s a tiny barrier. This little thing is “thinking about what we want to say before listening to what is actually being said”. A lot of times we want to inject our own opinions before the other person is even finished speaking and other times we want to give feedback on what’s being said.
For the moment, disregard your own thoughts and let the speaker give their own insight. When you are letting another person talk in conversation, the idea is not to think of a come back, the idea is to try to see what the speaker is seeing. Make that one moment a moment where you are trying to understand what that person is trying to say; this isn’t rocket science. And if you still have trouble understanding, then just ask.
Connecting just takes putting your own thoughts to the side, so you can try to see what the other person is trying to explain to you.
It’s truly a rarity to come in contact with a person that is a great listener. For me, I always understood that listening had a big impact on connecting with people, but I didn’t realize how much until I decided to just focus on listening. The average person values expressing themselves more than learning to take real interest in how others choose to express themselves. The goal to get better with people is to try to understand them; where they are coming from, why they think the way they do and what they value.
You can still value other’s opinions and still value your own opinions also. However, if you want others to value those opinions, then you must show them that you can value their’s as well.
One thing that’s nice about finally connecting with someone is that when you are nice enough to lend an ear to someone’s story or experience, most people are grateful enough to listen to what you have to say after the fact. Since you allowed them to get out what they had to say, they no longer will have it in the back of their mind. On top of that, they will be much more susceptible to your influence and whatever points you have to make.
So in short, both must take the time to get to know one another, but it’s better if you listen first. The main thing keeping most people from connecting is the need to have everyone put you first. Give up that need for the initial topic of conversation and relating to others will become much easier. If we all could do this, then the world would be a much better place.
People want to be heard and they want you to understand; give them what they want. Listen the best you can every-time. Let go of what you want to say and don’t even think about what you want to say. Just take the time and listen.
When I first started to pay more attention to listening, it was amazing to see how much more influence I had on others. Now I make it my prerogative to let the other person talk before me. I don’t even think about what I want to say, until after I’ve internalized what I’m hearing from the other person.
Once you’ve overcome the need to interject your own opinions, then you cover a major hurdle. It is as if your bench press has gone up and your conversation muscle has gotten stronger. All the thoughts that you wanted to share that were worth sharing will always come back to you when the person speaking is ready to take their turn listening. You always have a chance to be understood, you just need to let go of being the first to speak.
It’s a normal human instinct to crave self-indulgence, even among the most selfless of us. We all crave approval and admiration.
At times, I find myself saying things just to draw attention. For awhile I used to say things just to shock others. I had no real point in my life other than to seek validation from others. This is something that is apparent in lots of people and it all stems from the ego. It is as if some of us crave attention for our whitty remarks, like a crack addict craves a hit from their crack pipe. Most of us have this issue. It can easily distract from actually understanding others and communicating effectively.
One of the things we need to come to accept is that to most people, our opinions are insignificant. Opinions will come into our minds and leave. They usually aren’t even that profound and most of the time they are just mirroring the current state of our emotions. Most of the time they aren’t even logical opinions; which is fine. The idea behind connecting with others, is not to focus on the words a person is saying, but to focus on the person who is saying those words. Do not value what is being said, instead value who is saying it and you will find it much easier to keep people in your life.
I have to admit, at times I do fall back into my own urges for self-indulgence, but now I am more aware of them and can quickly bounce back to listening. Ever since I’ve realized how effective that listening to others can be, my social life has improved exponentially. People in general have become exponentially more fascinating as well; all because I am much better at attracting them into my life. Now I can actually spot when the connection has been made and it is quite fulfilling to see that I now have this wonderful ability.
The best part is after I have given the speaker the attention they wanted, I am always content with the attention they then give to me. I no longer feel as though others do not take my words seriously.
I believe it’s necessary to get better at every level of conversation. Everyday you will have a challenge, it’s up to you to make the best of it.
To leave off, here is another good book for everyone; some useful information in here. This book is called…
“Lead With A Story” by Paul Smith.
Just click the icon below to begin reading now.
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