Connecting is More Skill Than Talent

John Maxwell writes about several things about people whom he considers to be great communicators. He was attending a conference and evaluated those who connected and those who did not:

The Non-Connectors:

  1. First: a politician who spoke in monotone, droned on and on, devoid of passion or conviction.
  2. Second: a another politician who spoke 50 minutes and said absolutely nothing.
  3. Third: A journalist who spoke down to the audience, feeling superior, making people feel like he knew something the audience did not.
  4. Fourth: a business book author who spoke with an angry demeanor, with body language, facial expressions and negative attitude.

The Connectors:

  1. Mark Russell: a DC insider with a lot of humor.
  2. Mario Cuomo: eclectic, others could feel what he felt, he moved the audience.
  3. C Everett Koop: a master of illustration, with logical arguments.
  4. Elizabeth Dole: she made everyone feel like they were friends, possessing an easy confidence.
  5. Steve Forbes: he made everything he talked about sound new.
  6. Colin Powell: put everyone at ease, gave a sense of security, had a confident demeanor that instilled confidence in others, he gave hope.

What Makes People Listen? We must learn to connect with others by making the most of whatever skills and experience we have.

  1. Relationships – who you know: Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil made it big because of who they know (Oprah). The audience had confidence in her so they put confidence in the doctors. They possessed borrowed confidence.
  2. Insight – what you know: most people want to improve their situation in life. When they find someone who can communicate something of value to them, they will usually listen. If you have an area of expertise and generously share it with others, you give people reason to respect you and develop a sense of community with you.
  3. Success – what you have done: many people will come to hear a speaker for no other reason than because of what they have done in the past. America is a success culture and people will seek out others who can help them along the way.
  4. Ability – what you can do: those who perform at a high level will gain instant credibility with others. People admire them and want to be like them. Many times they want advice on topics that have nothing to do with their area of expertise. Michael Jordan made more money with endorsements than he did playing basketball.
  5. Sacrifice – how you have lived: People followed Mother Teresa because she had street cred, she lived out what she preached. If you have made sacrifices, suffered tragedy or overcome painful obstacles, many people will relate to you.

The Art of Connecting:

  1. Possess Great Confidence: if you don’t teach with confidence, your students will remain unconvinced.
  2. Exhibit Authenticity: to connect with people you must be yourself, at your best; walking with integrity.
  3. Prepare Thoroughly: you must be familiar with your topic and lesson. A great connector cannot simply wing it.
  4. Utilize humor: rare is the communicator who is able to connect with people without using humor. Use stories from your past, or read, or hear.
  5. Focus on Others: greet all those who come to your class, find out information about them, help them to talk by talking about the subject they know best, themselves.
  6. Master Speaking and Writing: practice communicating by actually talking to people. Write notes and e-mail to your class, sharing ideas, teaching, encouragement, prayer requests.

Summary:
Connecting Principle: Connecting is more skill than natural talent.
Key Concept: the skills you learn to connect at one level can be used to start connecting at the next level.

Practical Steps:

  1. Have an interest in other people; ask each person questions.
  2. Place value on that person; and point out their value to others in the group.
  3. Put their interests above your own; that sounds biblical.
  4. Express gratitude for that person; in front of other people as well.
Spread the Community, Faith, Love

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