Establishing a true genuine connection

The other day I was on LinkedIn and received a private message concerning a post that I liked. The post was about an incident around a controversial social dilemma at that moment.  I was surprised as it came from a relatively new connection at the time. Now anyone that is on a social platform has an idea of how such interactions can go. Real positive, real negative and the ‘Hey I see it this way, let’s talk’. The last one usually being the most constructive of the three.  In this case I received a version of “Hey I see it this way” 

Receiving the message made me realise how rare it is that someone you just met via social media takes the time out and initiates a genuine conversation on a controversial topic. It was an action that made me feel honoured  Why honoured? Simply because someone taking the time out to personally engage the conversation shows how they regard you and also shows a specific set of characteristics/values/norms the person holds in high regard. Psychologically it also ticks off various boxes needed for a genuine connection. But how do you establish a genuine connection?

First tip is to engage in open conversation.

It is easy to connect someone who sees the world the same as you do, as you already have the emotional security to engage in open conversation. The challenge arises when there are topics where you might be on opposite sides. But it is when you are on opposite sides of the spectrum you have an opportunity to truly make an impact on your connection with the other. In these situation all parties need to create the emotional safe space before and during the conversation. Creating this safe space together establishes that you are able to engage in open debate regardless of the topic. This possibly makes for a more genuine connection than with someone who shares your view.  A tip for these type of conversations is to avoid ‘why’ questions and ask ‘what is the reason’ or ‘how come’. Another tip is to engage the conversation from a curiosity perspective and without a specific goal in mind.

Second tip is to be present!

Being present is more than physical presence. It is focussing on the other when your in conversation. So if you’re talking to the person on the phone avoid also watching tv or any other distraction. If your talking to each other in person, then put away your phone, focus on the person your conversating with and not on all that is happening in the room. Being present is also reaching out during important milestone event for the other.

Third tip is know yourself!

When you truly know yourself you will be able to confidently establish connections that matter. Knowing yourself means knowing what triggers you. Knowing how you react when triggered. Knowing what is important to you and why! The other side of the coin is just as important knowing what your preferences are, knowing how you react in favourable situations and knowing why! Self knowledge empowers you in social interactions. It enables you to confidently manoeuvre in any social environment as you are aware of your current modus operandi. When you know yourself you are also aware of the fact that you have blind spots and are more curious and open to learning what they are. This enables you to easier engage in open conversation.

And there they are 3 tips to help you build genuine connections, whether they be online or offline. Enjoy going out there and building genuine connections, as all of us are the spark that ignites a beautiful community!   

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