How To Make Powerful Connections With People

Every once in awhile I find something really good on the internet. A real nugget of wisdom packaged so well that it has the potential to really change your life…

As Seth Godin would say everything is noise

And yet, I would argue that some noises are clearer then others. Some are talking, some a singing, and some have the clarity of a bell. A truth spelled out for you so clearly that you don’t have to do much work to absorb it into your brain and have it start making positive effects in your life…

I am a big fan of Tim Ferriss. Not only because he has a lot of great things to say, but also because he is a hardcore researcher like myself. And with his celebrity power he is able to find and talk with some other experts in their respective fields.

Just last week he brought Michael Ellsberg on his blog to talk about this…

How It Works: Clinton’s “Reality Distortion Field” Charisma

Now we are talking about good old Bill here, and if you must, please suspend your political affiliations to hear out what Michael has to say…

Yes, you can head on over there to read it now, I’ll have my comments waiting here for when you get back…

Here is what I got out of the article…

I am reminded of how powerful body language is…

By some estimates you communicate as much as 60-93% of what you say in your body language…

Now if the majority of what you communicate is in your body language, don’t you think it is something worthy of study and putting into practice? I personally think it is…

Here is what I learned from the article and started putting into practice…

First of all, as many bloggers will attest to, we are a somewhat shy and reclusive people. I am outgoing and personable more by training and experience then personality.

One thing I used to do a lot is avoid eye contact with people. What I realized after I read this article and started to put this into practice was that I think I had an actual fear of connecting with people “too much”. By that I mean I was afraid of the whole “window into the soul” concept. Maybe I was afraid of people seeing right through me? Or I just didn’t want people to get close to me?

Whatever the case may be, people will have trouble trusting you if you don’t look them in the eye. Apparently not many people have the ability to lie to someone straight to their face…

Whether that’s true or not it seems that people appreciate you making eye contact with them if you do it in an appropriate way.

While the above article by Michael explains it in more detail here is what I could glean from it…

The phrase “as if they are the only people in the room” was repeated a few times in the article and I have seen it mentioned elsewhere. Normally the phrase is heard other ways such as, “have your full and undivided attention.”

As a sales person approaching total strangers I have to make a quick and lasting impression on anyone I meet. This means I get to have a lot of practice with this and a lot of fun at the same time, and I get to receive a lot of feedback.

What I used to do was make eye contact and be the first to look away, if only for a second, then I look back. And then look away a few times after that every couple of seconds when it felt uncomfortable. What I am currently doing is holding eye contact the entire time I am talking, and especially when I am listening. To my own surprise, people don’t seem to mind this as much as I thought they would. Especially coming from a total stranger.

Maybe the fact that they don’t know me (thus not knowing what to expect) is an advantage?

While I don’t know this for sure, I don’t think that’s the case…

What I like to think works is the fact that I have a “friendly purpose” and SHOW that I am a friendly person. I am clear and direct when I am talking to them, and I keep my eye contact steady. And I am smiling the whole time. They are the only person in the room. And I do see the difference when I am unsure of who I should be speaking with (when there are multiple potential people to approach in the office environment).

One of the other things that Michael mentions is body distance…

I used to stand what was probably a little too far away from people when I was trying to talk with them so as not to encroach on their personal space. Maybe because I personally have what I feel is a rather large personal space (I hate crowds, and get slightly claustrophobic in them).

I started getting closer to people when I talked with them and this also seemed to help.

And again, I was surprised to see that they didn’t seem to mind it one bit. I received a more positive response from things I thought would almost certainly produce a negative response.

Here is another technique I have almost always done yet realize why it is so powerful now…

In a sales meeting I try to position myself next to the decision maker instead of across the table from them. I feel like this helps to show them that I am fellow problem solver instead of someone just trying to sell them something.

Finally Michael says to practice “presence”…

His tip is to be careful to notice when your mind is drifting to other subjects and bring it back to the person in front of you, and the topic at hand…

For me it is practicing “awareness”…

Be aware of your surroundings. A thing my friend likes to call “situational awareness”.

It’s about reading body language just as well as you can speak body language…

And translating it correctly. Although I would imagine you would get better at this if you no longer had to translate it, as much as you would speak it fluently as if it were your mother tongue…

So what are your thoughts on the subject???

From this 1,000 plus word article you can see that this is something that hit me pretty hard and has started to improve my life already…

Has it hit you in the same way? Do you think and feel that this subject is really important and worthy of attention? Of some additional education and practice?

As always, let me know…

Editor’s Note: With all that being said, I am considering opening up a forum to discuss some of these topics in more depth. What are your thoughts on a forum? Is it something you would participate in, if only a few times a month? Let me know. Thanks!

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