I was doing a presentation this week at my Toastmasters club when the remote for my PowerPoint starting giving me attitude. I would push the button to move to the next slide and it would ignore me. So I pushed the button again, harder this time thinking that I was just not connecting. Still nothing. I tried another button thinking I had pushed the wrong one and it would move the wrong way going back one instead of forward. It made me think about what sometimes happens when we try to connect with other people throughout our day. Sometimes we connect and sometimes it is an exercise in frustration.
As I see it, we have 3 options when this happens.
- Try harder (push the same button over and over again until you get the response you want)
- Try a different approach (a different button)
- Or shift focus and go to where they are (I ditched the remote and “connected” directly with my laptop)
Repeating our message over and over again is usually not effective. In fact is usually annoys the heck out of people. Anyone who has been nagged will tell you that. It seems to bring out our inner teenager.
Trying a different approach sometimes works because you might get lucky and stumble upon the one that connects with them. But it can be hit and miss. You can often loose them before you find the right one too.
Or you can make the effort to really understand what moves the other person best. What is important to them and why they might consider doing what it is you are trying to get them to do. With three kids, I came to understand this early in my career as a mother. What moved one child, was not always what moved the other two. I also found that what moved them one day was not always the same thing the next. Their needs and wants changed as they grew older.
Connecting with people really comes down to understanding what they want most. That means we have to get out of our own head, forget whatever it is we want to say and ask questions. And then actually listen to their answers. Ask more questions based on their answers and listen again. Too many times we are so caught up in what we want to say next that we are not really listening to what the other person is saying.
Now this may be just one way to connect better, but is does give you a good starting point. So this week, how are you going to create a better connection and with whom?