You have a job interview today that you have been anticipating for weeks. Today could be the first day of the rest of your life. Your dream job, the one you feel will provide personal as well as career satisfaction and purpose.
You’re anxious. You’re eager. But mostly, you are excited to connect with new people and an organisation that has similar values and purpose that you do.
As you enter the elevator to your new building, ready to start your new career, there are a few people on the elevator….
You greet them, “good morning.” They politely reciprocate the sentiment. Then each person returns to perusing his or her phone, despite the poor elevator web connection.
In anticipation of engagement, you continue, “It’s another terrible day out there, and it doesn’t look like it will let up anytime soon.”
What reactions or responses do you receive with “how’s the weather” statements?
A smile here.
A grunt there.
And a – “ha, it ‘s lousy out there.”
Again, you observe the elevator transient go back to his or her phone.
You walk into your interview with the President of the company. You recognise her immediately as she was one of the transients you attempted to engage just a few short moments ago. She doesn’t recognise you, as she was never compelled to lift her head from her phone.
When you ask someone about the weather, what is your objective?
Why do we put so much energy in discussing a fact that frankly, we can’t influence? More importantly, we can’t learn much, if anything, about the other person by having a conversation about it, leaving us void of the actual connection.
How about this, if you want to connect with someone you don’t know, ask them a question that will give you some insight into who they are. This approach will allow for a connection immediately or set the stage for future dialogue.
If your only goal is to be polite and acknowledge someone’s presence, provide a compliment “your suit is sharp” over “the traffic was horrible” or “great weather” – the likelihood of a future connection – when you are ready for dialogue, will drastically increase.
After all, sharing the weather is a waste, as we all have an app for that.
Every conscious contribution™ to another person starts with a connection.
HOW can we make connections quickly, that are meaningful and lead to more dialogue?
Simply, consciously change the common ground you’re trying to establish.
Instead of focusing on the weather, focus on finding out what inspires, motivates, or gets the other person out of bed.
Try asking one of these questions instead:
- How has your morning been so far?
- Do you have a big day ahead?
- Are you taking a vacation this…summer, fall, winter?
These questions are just connector starters, and in an elevator, you may not have much time to follow-up, however, if you’re going to the twentieth floor, who knows how much you can learn about someone.
BONUS: These questions are more positive. They also are about you – in YouMeWE. You is the other person. Such questions can launch a new connection off to a good start.
It may feel a little awkward at first, but like anything worth doing, it usually does. Try it, and you will start breaking down barriers and building bridges of care, kindness, and connection.
How to make connections quickly in all your conversations?
Regardless if you are in a supermarket, visiting a client, or going on a job interview, well-crafted questions can connect you deeper and faster.
Start a question with:
“Tell me… “
Follow-up with, “Why is that…” with the right tone …
When you’re out of the elevator and engaging with someone for the first time or in a longer dialogue, ask what, which, why questions (in that order), this can provide you with some great insight into the other person, and allow for a deeper connection to start building a collaborative relationship.
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We promise we won’t talk about the weather; you have an app for that.
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About the Conscious Contributor
Suzanne F. Stevens, CSP, Conscious Contributor™ Cultivator
Social entrepreneur |International Speaker | Pioneer | Host | Philanthropist | Author
Lead tomorrow’s legacy today.
#YouMeWe Group of Initiatives | Cultivate, Celebrate, Co-create conscious-contributions™
Book launch coming soon: YouMeWe: lead tomorrow’s legacy today
2017 National President: Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS)
Awards: TIAW World of Difference Recipient for women economic empowering
Accreditation: Suzanne is one of 64 Certified Speaking Professionals (CSP) in Canada and is in the exclusive 15% of speakers who have this designation internationally.