Communicating and Connecting

Everyone Communicates. Few Connect.

One of the greatest goals of effective communication is to communicate in a way that you are connecting to other people and adding value to people. One of the greatest tools that you and I have is our ability to communicate and how we communicate to the people around us, whether it's in our house, in our neighborhood, at a school, in our employment, wherever it is, the better we get at communicating to other people in a way that adds value to them in a way that connects with them will actually increase your influence in almost every situation.

I want to direct your attention to a great resource. It is a book by John C. Maxwell and it is called "Everyone Communicates Few Connect What the Most Effective People do Differently".

I'm actually going to be sharing from the first chapter of this book, "Connecting Increases Your Influence in Every Situation". It's the first session in the book and I want to just share a few highlights, a few takeaways for the first part of this blog. And then in the second part of this blog, I want to talk through behavior and personality assessments because in order to communicate effectively, we have to understand how we're wired and how each person is wired. So in order to do that, I'm going to give us a quick overview on the DISC methodology of the personality indicators when it comes to our behavior and our personality. And I can't wait to do that. It's one of my favorite things to discuss right now with people.

I think it's going to help you immensely to think about how you communicate to other people and maybe a little bit of awareness about yourself. So here we go. We're going to jump into how connecting increases your influence in every situation. It's really all about connecting and communicating together. Presidential historian Robert Dallek says that the successful presidents exhibited five skills and qualities that enabled them to achieve things that others don't. I'm going to give you these five real quickly. The first one is vision. The second one is pragmatism. The third one is building, the fourth is charisma, and the fifth is trustworthiness. Now I want you to think about this because four out of five of these deal with connecting to people and connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in such a way that it increases our influence with them. That's really what it is. And once again, don't forget leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less. Everything rises and falls on leadership. And so if we are going to lead well, if we're going to communicate well, then that should translate into how well we can influence the people around us. Not manipulate people of course, but to influence them. So the skills, the five skills that people have are being visionary, being pragmatism, consensus building, charisma, trustworthiness. This all helps us to connect with the people around us. But let me ask you a question. How do people know that you value them, especially when you communicate to them? How do people know that you value them and how do I know when I'm connecting with you? I think that there's a couple of connection signals that really can happen and it's really about going the extra effort to go the extra mile to really learn how to connect with the people around you. And so here's a few signals that people have. Unsolicited appreciation. They say positive things. I think that's one of the ways that people know that we're connecting, that people know that we're adding value to them is when there's unsolicited appreciation that people are just saying positive things about you. they are saying positive things maybe about your company or your organization, about your family, about the way you care for them. That's a good connection symbol.

Another way is unguarded openness. Are people open around you? Do they demonstrate trust? So when you talk to somebody are they a closed book, do they not want to share much information with you? Maybe they don't want to share emotionally with you or they just shut down. Are they closed or are they open? If they are open that means that they trust you, that means that they are comfortable around you. Once again, it's a connection signal on how people know when they are connecting with you.

The third way that people know that they are connected is increased communication. They express themselves more readily. So when people feel comfortable around you, that should translate to them being more open and communicating more, expressing themselves more readily. In other words, their guard is down, right? They say appreciative things. They demonstrate trust, which translates to being open and communicating openly.

The next signal that we are connecting with people and adding value to them is that they have enjoyable experiences. They feel good about what they are doing. That's a good way to tell, isn't it? So the people that work for you or around you or near you, are you adding value to them and helping them really enjoy their experience? Let's face it, work is work, and as much as you might love what you do, there are days that are tough and there are people around you that are probably having a tough day. So the way that we connect with people, the way we add value to them should add to their experience and it should help them. Honestly feel good about what they are doing.

The next signal is emotional bondedness. They display a connection on an emotional level. So it's not just a surface level that we're talking about. We're not just talking about am I able at a surface level to connect with somebody, are people letting their guard down and are they allowing their emotions to show, do they feel guarded or are they bonded with a connection on an emotional level? Do you have empathy for the people around you? Are you connecting with them in a way that is not just verbal but emotional?

The next signal is a positive synergy. Are their emotional batteries being charged by being together? Another synergy level is growing synergy. So when it comes to synergy to build that synergy in a room, I like this question a lot. This is a great, great thought and a great question. When you enter a room, do you add life and add value to that room or do you suck the life out of the room? Just thinking about that for a moment. When you go into a meeting, are people excited that you're there? Are they glad you're there? Even if you're the boss and you're the one that has to make the tough calls, are people connecting with you and have they bonded and connected with you on a level that when you walk into the room, do you make that room better or do you make it worse? That's about the simplest as I could put it and ask the question, when you go into a room, does that room become better or does that room become worse? Is there synergy that happens? Are you emotionally giving people a charge? Are you effectively becoming greater together than just the sum of the individual contributions?

And the last signal is unconditional love. Are they accepting without reservation? Do people accept you? Do you accept people without reservation? Are there no prejudices over color of skin, over economics, over where they were born or what they have or who they are married to? Do you really truly accept and love the people for who they are that work around you? And I'm telling you when we begin to do this, when we begin to communicate this way, what happens is that you connect well, that people really feel that you are adding value to them. Understanding the value of people around you is so incredibly important, but you got to be aware and I think that self awareness is a key concept here. Do you have good self awareness of how you add value to people? Do you have good self awareness of your own skill level? Do you have good self awareness of how people respond to you of how well you can connect with people around you? Our ability to connect increases our influence with everyone. It will always add value to what you're doing. That's the truth. So the better self aware we are, the better that we can connect with people, the better that we can add value to them and we will increase our influence in every situation.

Now let me turn the corner here for the next few minutes because I really do want to talk

about something that I think is incredibly important and is about that self awareness piece, to really know your behavior, to know how you respond, to know how you connect, to know the behavior that you are born with, the behavior that you've been exposed to by a role model, to know how your environment has shaped your behavior. The reality is everybody has a behavior. Everybody has a pattern. Everybody has a communication style that they like. So let's talk for a few minutes about the DISC. The DISC is the D, The I, the S and the C, and it's a personality indicator. I'm going to give you a real high level of the different behaviors and personalities. There are four behaviors here. The D stands for dominance. The I stands for influencing the S stands for steady, the C stands for compliant. Both the D and the I are more outgoing personalities. The S and C's are more reserved personalities. The D & C's are a little bit more task centered and the I & S's are a little bit more people centered.

For example, we've all met people who are a D personality. They are dominant, they are outgoing, they focus on tasks. We all know people who are the influencing personality, they are a little bit more outgoing. The life of the party, you know an I right away by the way that they express themselves. they are good storytellers, they like to be around people. The S stands for steady. They are more reserved, they are more people focused, the S's are team players through and through. And we all know people who are more compliant. The C's, they are reserved and they are very task centered.

Once again, the DISC: D stands for dominant, the I's influencing the S is steady. The C is compliant. D's are dominating, they are outgoing, they are task focussed. I's are outgoing and people centered. S's are reserved and people centered and C's are reserved and task centered. Let's talk about each one of these real quickly.

So the D, they seek control, they are decisive, they are direct, they are results focused. They are driven by authority. Ds like to take control. They like to embrace change. They change very quickly. They are very comfortable with confrontation, but they do treasure loyalty. One of the biggest fears that a D has is being taken advantage of. We all know people who are D wired and maybe you are.

Here's how to communicate with a D person, be brief and direct, get to the point and then get out of their office. Ask what not, how questions. Focus on results. Don't ramble. Don't discuss a problem and then just leave, D's want to discuss a problem and it's affected outcome. This is how you communicate to that D personality.

Let's talk a little bit about the I personality. The influencing personality. The I's are persuaded by speaking. they are spontaneous. they are friendly. They like to be in the spotlight. The I's seek a friendly environment. They are very relationship focused. They are emotional, they are animated. they are really good storytellers. they are great encouragers. They treasure great experiences with other people, but they do have a fear and their greatest fear is rejection and the loss of approval. When we communicate with the I personality behavior, you cannot do all of the talking. They thrive in communicating. You can't ignore their ideas. You have to allow time for socializing. I know for me, when I know I'm getting ready to meet with an I personality, I have to build in about 15 minutes on the front part just to talk, just to see how they are doing, how's their family, how's their kids, but after the meeting, I know I have to follow up the details in writing and so this is the I personality.

Next is the S. These are the steady. S's are very team focused. They are great with follow through. They are extremely loyal and they work best in a cohesive atmosphere. They really like acceptance. So an S always seeks a team environment. They are easy going, they are agreeable, they are very evenly paced, they are good listeners, they are compassionate, they really treasure peaceful relationships. But S's do not like to change quickly. They are a little bit slower to change. They want the entire team to win. Their greatest fear is loss of security and confrontation. S's make up about 69% of the population. So more than likely the people around you in your life, most of them are going to be an S personality.

In communicating with an S, create a friendly tone for the discussion. You have to show interest in them as a person, you cannot be overly aggressive. You've got to minimize the potential for confrontation. S's really thrive when they have a definition and a goal that is everyone's goal. You have to give S's time to adjust. They do not like to change very quickly, but S's make the team happen. Finally, C's are compliant. They are on time. They are very analytical, They are very planning focussed, very accurate. They check and re-check the facts and the figures. So a C looks for an environment that honors logic and facts, they are conscientious, they are accurate, they are very detail focused. They treasure perfection. So the higher the C, the more perfectionisms going to come out. Their greatest fear is criticism, which makes sense, doesn't it? Because if they've checked facts and figures they don't want to be criticized that they have done anything wrong.

When you communicate with the C, you've got to provide details, you've got to use validated facts, be precise in your explanation, be very specific. And then you have to be a little patient with a C because they are going to come ready and loaded with a lot of questions. Even while you're talking, they are thinking about questions about how this might not work or different ways it could work. And so you've got to be able to follow up with them with additional data that they are requesting.

Once again these are the DISC behavioral indicators. Everybody has a behavioral pattern. Everybody has a tendency in one way or another. And even as I was just describing the D, the I, the S and the C, I'm sure that you were able to place where you are as well as possibly place where other people are around you. At the end of it, it is about communication. The more we communicate effectively, the better we are able to add influence and add value to people around us. Why wouldn't we want to know that? The truth is everybody's communicating, but not everybody is really connecting. It takes practice. It takes intentionality to be able to connect with people. And I'm telling you, when you can connect with people, when you can speak their language, when you're able to speak to their behavioral instincts, when you're able to speak to how they are wired, they will value that time. They will connect with you and you will be able to influence them and the people around you in a very positive way.

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