I was coaching a client recently around the results of his climate survey.
He asked me, “Do you think it’s better to talk to my people all together or should I have one-on-ones?”
I told him that it didn’t matter. If his people didn’t feel a connection with him, they wouldn’t open up in either forum.
And his climate clearly showed me that he was not connecting with his people!
What is it about connecting with others?
Everyone relies on relationships and our networks for basic survival and our ability to thrive.
The most successful people are the ones who can establish, build and maintain a large number of significant, intimate, relationships.
However, most people do not understand the rudiments of doing this and do not know how to master intimacy and connect with others quickly.
Connecting on a significant level
Matthew Kelly wrote a book “The Seven Levels of Intimacy” which is NOT about sex! It’s about understanding people and truly connecting with them.
I am a “people person” and connect rather easily with others. However, it’s not enough to know HOW to connect, we must understand WHY we connect and HOW connecting is done.
The Seven Levels of Intimacy
In sequential order, they are:
- Hopes and Dreams
- Weaknesses and Fears
These levels are very much a sequence in that you cannot jump to the next level without succeeding on the previous level.
I think that violation of this is what started to associate the word slimy with salespeople.
I once had a vitamin salesperson jump from “Hi! How are you?” (Cliche) to “so, tell me what medical problems you’re currently experiencing?” (Weakness and Fears).
It felt, well… slimy and totally turned me off.
Just like in my post Earning the Right to Advance, we can’t assume a connection and expect everything to go smooth.
I can hear you saying it now, “I’m too busy to go through this with my <insert client, customer, employee, assistant, brother…>.”
Connecting Conversation Example
Here’s an example that gets you through the seven levels in just a few minutes. Assume you are meeting a potential customer on the XYZ project.
- (Cliche) “Hi! How are you?” “Fine, thanks.”
- (Facts) “Did you get caught in that cloudburst this morning?” “Sure did! Had to pull over because I couldn’t see the road!”
- (Opinions) “What do you think about the construction on the lobby?” “I don’t really know. I started parking so I come in the South Entrance now.”
- (Hopes and Dreams) “Yeah, I can see how that might be a good idea until that mess is done. I was thinking about the XYZ project. As the project lead, what’s the one mark you wish to make on XYZ?” “Gosh, I’d love to get it to market by 2019!”
- (Feelings) “Oh, yeah? How would you feel if it’s done by 2019?” “That would be fantastic! I get excited just thinking about it!”
- (Fears/Weaknesses) “What do you think is going to stand in the way?” “Well, to get the weight down, we want to use unobtainium, and that’s not very production-friendly yet…”
- (Needs) “Hmmm…what weight would you need to be at to meet requirements AND meet your schedule?” “Well…etc…”
See, that didn’t take very long and you’re already at solving the real problem and connecting on a human level. Think of all the time you’ll save for the three-minute investment!
Last few tips on connecting with others
- Once you hit Level 5 Feelings, you’ve reached the first emotional level and connecting starts to happen
- If you’re selling or negotiating, you will not “close” until you are on Level 7 Needs. You will get lies about Levels 6 & 7 until you have REALLY gone through Levels 1-5.
If you can memorize or learn a few key questions to “move through the levels”, you will never be stuck in a conversations with nothing to say. You will be vibrant and master the art of connecting with others.
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: “My friends tell me I have an intimacy problem. But they don’t really know me!” Garry Shandling