mountain road

How do we connect in a meaningful way?

Impact Italia’s senior consultant Penelope Mavor offers some quick tips for connecting deeply with anyone.

Team? We only see each other once a year!

Like the executive team we worked with last week felt – it is hard to be a team, let alone feel connected, when the only regular contact with your team members is the image of them in a half-body screenshot from the webinar and some heated email exchange.

The challenges of making real connections are exacerbated for virtual multi-cultural teams dispersed around the world, but they also appear in our hurried lives more generally, when the time we have with each other feels limited.

As human beings, we are social animals – we want connection and seek it. And we can always improve our ways of doing that. So whilst I do not believe there is a magic formula, here are six tips for enhancing the likelihood of making a meaningful connection, whether it is with a complete stranger at a networking event or a colleague you have worked with for 20 years.

It involves connecting with yourself – in order to connect with others…

  • Connect with your ability to be present – whether reading an email from them, on the phone or face to face – be centred yourself, so you can give them your undivided attention – as opposed to “continuous partial attention”!
  • Connect with your empathic nature – remember they are a real person with their own joys and troubles. Try to ‘put yourself in the other person’s shoes’, and see the situation from their perspective.
  • Connect with your innate curiousity – ask open questions to show interest in their views.
  • —Connect with your own courage and vulnerability – and be open to disclosing your own beliefs, opinions, emotions and feelings.
  • Connect with your own ability to listen deeply – we know how it feels to be truly listened to, so offer that to others.
  • Connect with your own sense of optimism and positivity (it goes without saying, don’t you think).

Admittedly these tips are also useful for speed-dating!