Ever meet someone and instantly connect?
Why is it that we just ‘click’ with some people, while others take a bit longer?
And some people, well… there’s no ‘click-age’ at all, ever?
The first time I met Gary Larson, he was a training executive at Bank of America and within 5 minutes my new friend felt like an old friend. He was my brother-from-another-mother and I felt an amazing sense of freedom not having to worry about what I said or how I acted.
When meeting new people we are generally well served to respect cultural norms, consider situational factors and manage our self-revelations but what can we do to speed up the process?
Interestingly, our research shows that – like many things in life – we are the problem. Most of us build invisible walls around ourselves that hold others at bay and slow the process way down.
In 1987 President Reagan challenged Gorbachev to “tear down this wall”! If you are up to the challenge, here are 6.5 ways to tear down the walls around you and invite others to connect:
- Immersive engagement: Be in the moment and listen fully – don’t be thinking about the brilliant thing you are going to say next,
- Change your perspective: Instead of extending the conversation with your amazing insights, ask your new friend to confirm your understanding of what they just said… “So what you’re saying is…?”,
- Don’t be too serious: While respecting the situation and your soon-to-be new friend, don’t be more serious than you need to be… think “comfortable in your own skin”,
- Ask for what you need: Don’t be afraid to test your new relationship with small requests. The best relationships are give-and-take affairs, so start the process early,
- Be enthusiastic: Energy and optimism are contagious, if you are excited, show it!
- Be quiet: Awkward silence is only awkward when we are on guard or feeling like we are being judged. Embracing silence is a sign of acceptance, trust and self-confidence,