In this post, I will share the notes that I’ve extracted for myself from “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect” by John C. Maxwell. I read the book because I realized that I’m not a good communicator with new people in my life, maybe because of my introverted personality. Let’s begin.

Book page on Goodreads My rating: 3/5

Why learning to connect? the author claims the following benefits of connecting with people:

Maybe you are the most skilled person in an area at work, yet you never get promoted. Or you work hard and produce, but others don’t seem to appreciate what you do. Or maybe you desire to build relationships with people around you, but they don’t seem to listen to you the way they do to others. Or you want to create an effective team—or just become part of a good team—but you are made to feel like an outsider. What’s the problem? It’s connection. To succeed with other people, you need to be able to connect.

In connecting one-on-one: talk more about the other person and less about yourself. Prepare two or three questions you can ask someone before a meeting or social gathering. Bring something of value, such as a helpful quote, story, book, or CD, to give to someone when you get together. At the close of a conversation, ask if there is anything you can do to help them and then follow through.

Show that you genuinely care; try to see thing from the perspective of others.

Connecting is all about others: you can connect with others if you’re willing to get off your own agenda, to think about others, and to try to understand who they are and what they want.

Find what they value and find out why; share your own values that are similar to theirs; build the relationship on these common values.

Even people who take pride in wearing a poker face and who work hard not to crack a smile or let others know what they’re thinking are conveying a message to others—detachment. And that makes connecting with others nearly impossible. If your face is going to “talk” for you anyway, you might as well have it communicate something positive.

🌟 Ten tips when meeting new people from author and communication coach Susan RoAne. She says magnificent minglers:

  1. Possess the ability to make others feel comfortable
  2. Appear to be confident and at ease
  3. Have an ability to laugh at themselves (not at others)
  4. Show interest in others; they maintain eye contact, self-disclose, ask questions, and actively listen
  5. Extend themselves to others; they lean into a greeting with a firm handshake and a smile
  6. Convey a sense of energy and enthusiasm—a joie de vivre
  7. Are well rounded, well informed, and well-mannered
  8. Prepare vignettes or stories of actual occurrences that are interesting, humorous, and appropriate
  9. Introduce people to each other with an infectious enthusiasm (there is no other kind) that motivates conversation between the introducees
  10. Convey respect and genuinely like people—the core of communicating

 Talking It Over by Enoch Wood Perry, 1872

Connecting always requires energy: use your energy to focus on others and reach out to them.

It has been my experience that the perfect moment never arrives. Initiating a conversation with someone often feels awkward. Offering help to someone means risking rejection. Giving to others can lead to misunderstanding. You won’t feel ready or comfortable in those moments. You just have to learn to get past those feelings of awkwardness or insecurity.

Early in my career, I wanted to do things as quickly as possible and move on to the next thing. If someone didn’t want to move at my speed, I breezed right past him or her. But that leadership style hindered my ability to connect with others, and my relationships suffered. The good news was that I moved fast. The bad news was that I often moved alone.

Communicating with people can be very taxing physically, mentally, and emotionally. You must also figure out what kinds of things fill your tank and leave you energized. I am recharged by a good massage, a round of golf, a change of pace, or prayer during my daily swim. And my favorite is spending a day with Margaret with no agenda. Pay attention to what charges your batteries and start making it part of your schedule.

If you want to increase your odds of connecting with others, then one of the choices to make everyday is to be available; choose to spend time with others. Another choice is openness; decide to let people into your life.

Television host Larry King, who has conducted thousands of interviews, says that asking questions is the secret of every good conversation. “I’m curious about everything,” writes King in How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere, “and if I’m at a cocktail party, I often ask my favorite question: ‘Why?’ If a man tells me he and his family are moving to another city: ‘Why?’ A woman is changing jobs: ‘Why?’…”

If you aren’t especially outgoing or have a difficult time asking questions, you can use this trick that Duke Brekhus says he learned from Ron Puryear. Remember the word FORM, which stands for family, occupation, recreation, and message. Duke comments, “When we ask questions centered around these topics it is amazing how much we can learn about a person and how quickly we can get to know them.

Anytime you are aware of a gap between you and the people with whom you are trying to connect, it’s wise to try to move to their world mentally, if not physically, and then search for something in your own background and experience that relates to theirs.

🌟 Common ground is the base of connection. To find common ground, ask questions with an eye for common interests and experiences. When you find common ground, tell stories, share emotions, and offer lessons learned from those experiences. And if possible, do something together that you both enjoy.

As I begin writing, I think, What would make me want to read about this? After I have written a chapter, I try to read it from the perspective of people who might pick the book up. What will motivate them to turn the page? What will encourage them to finish the book?

I take responsibility for creating an experience that others will enjoy when I’m with a small group of people. If we’re having dinner, I work to create good conversation. I think, What can I say to get others involved around the table? How can I draw them in? If I take friends on a trip or out for a night on the town, I try to create memories.