How To Create Genuine Connections

AdviceA couple of years ago have attended a networking event called Holiday Mixer, where I had the chance to meet new people with truly inspiring stories. During that event I’ve also had the opportunity to meet Bobby Umar, who has over 20 years of experience in leadership training and professional development, and who’s also a TEDx speaker.

In one of his TEDTalks he speaks about “The 5 Cs of Connection”, and all the information presented has resonated with my vision and values – so I thought I’d share it with you. According to Bobby, there are several types of connections between people, but in order to last, a connection has to be: deep, authentic, genuine, meaningful and life-changing.

In the video below he asks the audience what stops them talking to the person sitting next to them – and in my opinion there could be several reasons: fear of rejection or judgment, lack of interest or just shyness.

How much do we really know about the people we surround ourselves with? Their stories, fears, challenges, thoughts or feelings? How genuinely are we interested in going beyond a shallow relationship and getting to know others on a deeper level?

There is a deep interconnectedness of all life on earth, from the tiniest organisms, to the largest ecosystems, and absolutely between each person. ~ Bryant McGill

When we begin to understand that there’s a connection between all living creatures on earth, we start caring more about each other. This is very important to grasp, because genuine care for others is the foundation for building meaningful connections.

So what’s stopping us from genuinely care for others?  Generally speaking, most of us are self-centered and care only when something/someone starts to have an impact on us – and we disregard all the things/people that have little or no effect on us whatsoever. When we start caring about others, we tend to change our behavior and become better than we used to be. Genuine care entails passion, awareness and relating.

Caring, however, is not enough – it has to be accompanied by Communication. We have to let people know that we care and also show it to them. We can also do a bit more than it’s expected of us: instead of just making a statement like “I love this about you”, we could go a bit further by also stating why we feel that way.

Another important connection factor is Listening – not only to the content, but also to the context. The non-verbal language plays a very important role in the communication process. Listening and paying attention to someone’s words and actions will give us a clearer picture about the person’s intentions.

Openness and Honesty are also key factors in building meaningful connections. We all wish to be treated that way, don’t we? So why not be the first to treat others this way?

Risk-Taking is crucial in creating lasting connections – we have to put ourselves out there and be the ones to say things first, instead of expecting others to take initiative, or even worse, judging them when they don’t.

When we create deep and meaningful connections, we end up creating a community. When that community has the same values, beliefs, vision and passion, it will be powerful enough to create change – and change means progress. Gandhi created change by building and inspiring an entire community – and this was possible only by creating meaningful connections that shared the same values and vision.

We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects. ~ Herman Melville

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