THERE are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of books on how to build deep and meaningful connections with loved ones, colleagues, clients, bosses and even people you have just met.
However, I strongly believe that even before we “work” on the other person, we need to first “work” on ourselves because we are the common denominator in every connection.
So, if you are keen to improve on how you relate to other people, here are three tips to get you started:
1 Be conscious of how you judge others
Instead of judging someone else’s behaviour first, you have to realise that your own judgment may be biased. We tend to judge people by how similar or different their attitudes and beliefs are to our own. To make matters worse, this is often unconscious, so we are not even aware of what we are doing.
The way to overcome this natural instinct is through self-awareness. The next time you meet someone, pay attention to how you judge him. This will enable you to choose a more positive response to him, thereby improving your connection with him.
2 Appreciate your talent
Some people lack self-confidence and tend to feel unsure of themselves in the presence of popular peers, authority figures or socially important people.
If you have poor self-esteem, this can have two negative outcomes. The first is that you will feel uncomfortable and even distressed, which may result in poor eye contact with the person you are talking to, distracting gestures and awkward silences.
The second outcome is an ego trip, where you try to seek validation through your conversations and interactions with the other person. You end up boasting, name-dropping and making the conversation all about yourself. Worse, the other person may think you are contemptuous of him, which also will kill any hope of making a connection.
The key to avoiding either outcome is to first acknowledge that you are talented in your own way. Instead of bringing yourself down, be aware of your merits. Think about your strengths and gifts. Believe you have a unique purpose to fulfil.
3 Get real
King Solomon once said the fear of man is a snare. Yet many of us cannot help but be overly concerned about people’s opinions of us. We care about what they may say or think about our looks, behaviours and actions.
We put on masks. Yet these same masks prevent us from enjoying deeper and more meaningful connections with people. Many of the connections we make at networking events, at work or even on social media are superficial at best.
However, when you allow yourself to be real — despite your imperfections — it ironically makes you attractive because you express yourself with a candour many others do not have the courage to show.
When you drop your mask and choose to be real with others, you give the other party a chance to drop his mask and be real with you. So do yourself a favour. Drop the mask. Be genuine and sincere with others. This may be your big break to getting a fresh bout of air in your relationships with others.
Article by Eric Feng, a public speaking coach and the author of four books. For more information, visit www.ericfeng.com