Teddy Roosevelt said that “The single most important ingredient to the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” I believe that. More than any single quality, what determines your success and effectiveness in life, and in coaching, is how well you nurture relationships and Connection With People. Coaching and leaderships is all about establishing connection, nurturing trust, building rapport, and being authentic.

With the tremendous proliferation of online coaching and meetings, some feel that Connection With People can be done away with, substituted with great computer and marketing skills. However, in a time virtual coaching, Connection With People has never been more critical. A coaching business model that incorporates all the latest and greatest technologies, without a personal and authentic touch, will not succeed in the long term. The need for Connection With People and great people skills has never been greater. So, let’s explore 4 Essentials For Connecting With People.

4 Essentials For Connecting With People…

1. Be Secure…

Some struggle to Connect With People because they are insecure. Insecurity will destroy your ability to connect with others. Fundamentally, insecurity is a negative sense of self; an inability to rest and be “secure” in who and what you are. Dr. Joyce Brothers said, “An  individual’s self-concept is the core of his personality. It affects every aspect of human  behavior: the ability to learn, the capacity to grow and change, the choice of friends, mates, and careers. It is no exaggeration to say that a strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life”.

Insecure People:

  1. Compare Themselves With Others – Comparing yourself to others causes you to either puff yourself up or put yourself down, which never causes healthy Connection With People. Comparing yourself to others is faulty measuring stick because we are all unique, specific, and one of a kind.
  2. Go Beyond Their Strengths – Insecure people feel the need to come across as an “expert” in everything. Secure people are content with staying within their “field”, and let others handle their own.
  3. Tie Their Security To Their Performance –Tying your personal worth to your professional performance is an exhausting and stress-filled way to live!
  4. Find Their Security In People – Tying your personal worth to people and their opinion’s is difficult mentally and emotionally!
  5. Have An Inability To Bond or Relate – Of course, when we lack a healthy relationship with ourselves, we will struggle to connect with others.

Being secure in who you are and what you do is key to developing Connection With People. The happiest people are those who are secure in who they are and in who they were made to be. A formula for happiness is to accept the things about yourself that you cannot change, and to change the things you can.

2. Be Affectionate…

We need to develop “affection ability” to have Connection With People. How can we develop this? By our body language. Up to 90% of all communication is non-verbal. “Non-verbal communication”, what you say with your body, actions, and expressions accounts for up to 90% of our communication. This means that if we are to develop affection with people, we need to be visual. We must communicate it non-verbally:

  • Our Eyes Communicate Affection or Distance – by a simple glance one way or another, we can communicate affection or distance.
  • Our Facial Expressions Communicate Affection or Distance – do our expressions make people feel affection or distance, i.e. do we smile regularly, look at people when they’re speaking, and look interested in people?
  • Our Touch Communicates Affection or Distance – A study found that to maintain emotional and physical health, men and women need 8-10 meaningful touches per day. A meaningful touch was defined as a gentle touch, a handshake, or hug given by significant people in our lives. The key is non-sexual. As small an act as these may seem, they can be like pouring buckets of affection on needy soil.

Meaningful Touch Communicates:

  • Acceptance,
  • Warmth,
  •  Approval,
  • Identification,
  • Togetherness
  • Our Words Communicate Affection or Distance – So, let’s speak life. Socrates said, “Let him that would move the world first move himself”. If we want to influence people, we need to lead ourselves to speak only always life. The tongue has the power of life and death. Creative power is released with but a word. We can literally create life and hope and healing and growth with our words, or we can bring despair, discouragement, and negativity. Energy flows through our words.

Og Mandino said: “Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster. Your life will never be the same again.” A big person is one who makes us feel bigger when we are with them. Robert Orben said that “A compliment is verbal sunshine”. Connection With People is about affection.

3. Be Appreciative…

People long to be appreciated and thanked. A person who Connects has learned to appreciate others, thus meeting

a great need they have. An ancient proverb said, “The labourer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on.”  When people are pouring out, there is a hunger, an appetite that drives them. I believe that the drive is the longing to be appreciated, thanked and valued. People work hard out of a longing for the feeding and nourishment that the appreciation they receive gives them. When we express appreciation to those around us we are giving them a great gift. Successful leaders live and thrive by the consistent and regular giving of appreciation. Connection With People is giving appreciation at all times.

William James said, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” J. C. Staehle, after analyzing many surveys, found that the principal causes of unrest among workers were the following:

  1. Failure to give credit for suggestions.
  2. Failure to correct grievances.
  3. Failure to encourage.
  4. Criticizing employees in front of other people.
  5. Failure to ask employees their opinions.
  6. Failure to inform employees of their progress.
  7. Favoritism.

Notice that every single item has to do with the failure to recognize the importance of the employee. People need appreciation. Apply this principle every time you meet someone. In the first 30 seconds of conversation, try to say something that shows you appreciate and affirm that person. It sets the tone and conveys the energy.

Appreciation Axioms:

  • “A person may not be as good as you tell her she is, but she’ll try harder thereafter” – Anonymous
  • “You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life” – Zig Ziglar
  • “No matter how busy you are, take the time to make the other person feel important” – Mary Kay Ash
  • “Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish” – Sam Walton
  • “When someone does something good, applaud! You will make two people happy” – Samuel Goldwyn
  • “I have yet to find a man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval then under a spirit of criticism” – Charles Schwab

4. Be Quiet – Listening Is The Heart Of Connection…

People long to be listened to, to be understood and to be known. People have real problems today, and the world doesn’t offer much hope. If we’re going to help people, first we need to listen to them, and then to understand them and where they’re at. Ancient writings speak of King Solomon; that people came from all over the world to hear his wisdom. He had Wisdom, Exceedingly Great Understanding, and Largeness of Heart“Largeness of heart”  means,  “to broaden, to have width”. Solomon was not narrow and confined in his thinking. He knew that to Connect With People you need to have largeness of heart. Alexander Solshenitsen said that The less you speak, the more you will hear”.

We need to be swift to hear and slow to speak. We have 2 ears and 1 mouth so we can listen twice as much as speak! Most of us seek to first be heard and then hear; to speak well and only then do we listen well. This is backwards and ineffective. Stephen Covey, the author of, “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People”, said that “If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations, it would be this: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. This principle is the key to effective interpersonal communication.” Aesop said this: “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” Sometimes the kindest thing we can do is Authentic Listening.

As coaches and leaders,  we are in the people business. People are our business, and are the most important part of all we do. Dale Carnegie said: “Even in such technical lines as engineering, about 15% of one’s financial success is due one’s technical knowledge and about 85% is due to skill in human engineering, to personality and the ability to lead people.”  Choose one of the principles here to apply right away, in your leadership and coaching. Apply the rest of the principles in this article each and every day. And the people around you will benefit exponentially.

About the Author

Abe Brown, MBA, CMCT, CPHSA is the Coach’s Coach, and is an Entrepreneur, Professional Speaker, International Best-Selling Author, and High-Performance Leadership Coach. He is the founder of Certified Flourishing Coach™, the CEO of Wellness Innovate Corp, and the CEO of Momentum Coaching.