9 Connecting Faux Pas to Avoid at all Costs (& the Connection Solutions to Make You Instantly Memorable!)
“Personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement, all success, all achievement in real life grows.” – Ben Stein
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to make their impact with ease and speed while you feel like you’re spinning your wheels, grinding it out day-in, day-out and working your butt off with seemingly little results to show?
It can be incredibly frustrating and even enough to want to give up sometimes…
But there’s actually a super simple success hack that these people, the people who are making fast progress, are using that might not be so obvious on the outside but makes all the difference. And the great news is – we can all learn and implement it today!
Whether or not these ‘successful’ people realize it, they generally all follow a particular set of powerful connecting habits to build relationships.
Now, why is this important? Well, at Live Your Legend we believe the level of your success is directly related to your level of connectedness with others. Whether that’s with influencers, peers, community, followers, mentors, idols, a partner, or your family. Being able to connect means you become memorable in the eyes of others; and this is especially powerful when it comes to those people who can help you advance your journey.
Put simply: Connecting is the ‘Go free’ pass in the world of impact making. It is simply one of the biggest success hacks we know!
So are you ready to get off default mode and start connecting powerfully with others and building relationships that truly matter? Are you ready to speed up your journey from wheel spinning to forward motion?
How to Not Totally Suck at Building Relationships
So while today we want to share with you the top habits that those successful people possess so you can start implementing them in your own life, first, it’s crucial that we highlight three things:
- None of what we’re about to share below will make any difference if you are coming from a ‘taking’ mindset instead of a ‘giving’ mindset. Making genuine connections with others is pretty simple – as long as you come from the right place.
- There are some key connection ‘faux pas’ that we need to shed light on so that you can identify any that you are currently doing, and commit to stopping.
- While these success hacks speed up your journey it still takes time, effort and determination to do work you love. None of this success stuff happens overnight, but building relationships powerfully and before you need them is something almost no-one is doing and will maximize your results in a big way.
Sound good? Then let’s do this!
A quick story from Leah…
In July 2013 I attended my first World Domination Summit. I had only recently found the Live Your Legend community and found myself at the first Live Your Legend WDS Meetup hosted by Scott. After much high-fiving, hugging & excited talking, Scott introduced me to Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. I was a HUGE Zen Habits fan, in fact it’s how I found Scott and LYL.
I noticed myself becoming a little starstruck and proceeded to talk Leo’s ear off, sharing how amazing I thought his work was, that I loved one of his latest e-books, and that with Scott’s help I was now on a journey to do work I loved. Leo kindly listened, asked questions, smiled and nodded.
After the excitement died down and I had time to reflect a little later, it was obvious that A) Leo was a total gentleman and B) clear that I had made some connection faux pas, including not listening, not asking engaging questions, forgetting to find common ground, and talking about myself almost non-stop (embarrassing but true!).
I share this story because although we all make connecting faux pas from time to time, the most important thing here is not to give up and to keep on practicing. I mean, yes, I made mistakes but I can also look back and laugh at myself and feel good in the knowledge that these days I do a MUCH better job at connecting.
You see, at its most basic level, every interaction is a chance to either build trust or erode it. So whether you want to connect with Oprah Winfrey or your next door neighbor, it all works the same.
The energetic space between two human beings is sacred. And all too often we pollute it unknowingly and repeatedly until the connection and trust between you and that person has been so eroded or diluted that not only it is completely unfulfilling, but your relationship simply doesn’t work anymore. And it’s the reason why relationships and connections either breakdown or never sizzle in the first place. And even worse, when we unknowingly erode trust by committing a connecting faux pas, we usually have zero awareness of what we’re doing.
But we say ‘No more!’. It’s time to get real about the connecting faux pas that erode trust and share with you the simple habits that the most powerful connectors practice in taking their impact making from frustration to elation.
9 Connecting Faux Pas & Connection Solutions
1. Shoving stuff in their face
Whether it’s a business card or pushing your products and being constantly self-promotional, these are some of the fastest ways to become memorable… but for all the wrong reasons.
There is always a time and place for sharing what you’re building, but connecting with the intention of getting products or your company name in their face not only dilutes connection, it erodes trust and will likely have the other person asking things like, ‘What does this person want from me?’ or ‘Are they just trying to take advantage of me and my position?’
You can pretty much find this at countless sleazy networking type events and it has nothing to do with real, genuine connections that have the potential to accelerate your journey.
Connection Solution: Be Genuine
If you’re not connecting with people because you care about having them a part of your life, then stop connecting with them, it’s disingenuous. If you’re connecting just because you want to get yourself further up the ladder, then you’ve come to the wrong place. There is only one type of connection – one you genuinely care about. Find someone you actually do care to meet and get to know. Anything else is a waste of time.
2. Not listening
If you don’t pay attention to other people’s stories, projects or life and only talk about yourself, you’ll never connect! And if you do all that while you’re constantly looking around the room to see who else you could meet you become that guy or girl who darts around and tries to make eye contact with everyone except the person you’re talking to! Have you ever been on the receiving end of this?
Connection Solution: Pay Attention & Be Present
Every new person is a chance to connect and help and has the possibility of being the person you’ve been dying to meet! Plus, the easiest way to be interesting is to be interested. Find excitement in what you can learn from others. Hear what they say. Listen and learn about what matters to them. Not so you can say something back as soon as possible, but so you can get a window into their world. People want to tell their story. Be the person excited to hear it.
3. Not finding common ground
There is no greater conversation killer than when you struggle to find common ground. It can get really awkward! And if you’re also not listening then there is pretty much zero chance of finding commonalities! Finding common ground is not as complicated as you might think, it can be the smallest of things: favorite foods, places lived, sports, passion, travel, the news, etc.
Connection Solution: Pretend it’s a Game
Everyone has something in common. See it as a fun challenge to find what it is. The faster you can find shared ideas, beliefs and interests, the quicker you can relate. Ask probing questions like, ‘What’s exciting in your world at the moment?’, ‘What was the best thing about your weekend?’, ‘What are the things that you find yourself losing all sense of time doing?’ And if it’s someone very specific you are connecting with, do your research and know what matters to them. Not to manipulate, but so you can actually learn something meaningful about them – read their blogs and books, take their courses, sign up for their newsletters, learn about their interests, family, passions and charity work.
4. Getting advice but never implementing it
Have you had someone ask you for advice, only for them to dismiss it or simply never implement it? Although there ideally should be no expectation from the advice-giver, requesting advice and ignoring it certainly can contribute to diluting connectedness with others, especially those you consider mentors.
Connection Solution: Listen, Implement & Circle Back
There is no greater compliment than when you not only hear the advice someone gives you but when you then go ahead and implement it. And to amp it up even more, make sure you circle back around with that person and let them know the specific difference their advice made, and exactly how you implemented it. Result: Instantly memorable!
5. Not helping anyone. But still constantly asking for them to help you.
This is most certainly one of the biggest connection killers! When you are always looking for ‘what’s in it for me?’ but never caring about how you can help them. By only connecting with people because you want something from them it erodes trust probably faster than any other on the list.
Connection Solution: Start Immediately & Connect Long Before You Want Something
No one wants to connect with someone who’s just out to get something. You will no doubt ask for help in all kinds of ways from the people you know, but that is far from the first step. Start as early as possible and connect because you want to, not because you need something. There’s really no other way to be genuine.
6. Getting upset when they don’t respond. And even worse, telling them you’re upset.
Don’t allow yourself to get upset when someone doesn’t reply to your message, badmouth them or let them know about your annoyance. If you think your job is done after one contact effort, you are misled. The only thing that happens when you just sit back and wait for the connection to happen is… nothing. People are super busy these days and they sometimes need reminding. See them and treat them like you would a friend.
Connection Solution: Embrace Persistence
Be comfortable with not getting responses. Most connections take a while and can’t be rushed. And while you’re at it, get used to “no,” too. People are busy. Especially the well-known high-up folks. Just because you don’t hear back or get a “no” at first, does not mean it’s over. Most people send one email or make one phone call and think they’ve done their job. Not even close – that’s just the very beginning. If you have a way to uniquely help them, then it’s your job to get in touch. They will thank you for it. Don’t be a stalker. Don’t be the annoying nag. Friendly, genuine persistence is a power few use.
7. Viewing connecting as a ‘means to an end’
When you view connecting as a means to an end you actually turn human beings into objects. Most people can feel or sense this a mile off. Stop seeing strangers strangers, and instead as friends you simply haven’t met yet. Because with friends you don’t connect with a view of ‘getting something’ from the other person and then it being over. You connect from a place of genuine and ongoing interest.
Connection Solution: See Strangers As Friends You Haven’t Met Yet
This is the foundation. Making genuine connections is nothing more than making friends. When you’re about to approach someone, ask, “How would I treat this person if they were my close friend or someone I’d want to be a close friend?” You don’t have hidden agendas and constantly push products and talk about yourself with your friends. You put friends first. You listen to them. You hear their problems so you can help in any way you can. Act accordingly.
8. Having nothing interesting to talk about
You have fallen into the trap of believing that you are not very interesting, that you’re not good enough for others to listen to, and so you’ve stopped sharing things about your life and the result is awkward conversations where you’re stuck for things to say!
Connection Solution: Lead an Interesting Life
You must be interesting. The best way to do this (aside from listening like crazy) is by embracing your passions, working towards an idea or cause and having a set of beliefs you’re deeply excited about that you openly share with others. Live with passion and you will connect with passion. This is the surest way to be someone worth talking to, and everyone is capable of it.
Secondly, lead an interesting life. Live a life worth hearing about – most importantly for you, but for those around you as well. Do things you don’t normally do. The more things you do and try, the more things you’ll have to talk about and the more fun you’ll have!
9. Puff your chest up, act cool and be someone you’re not
We all fall into this trap sometimes, especially if we’re feeling a little out of our depths and lacking confidence when connecting. Being yourself is the simplest and often most challenging thing to be of all, so we end up either puffing up our chest, acting cool or generally being inauthentic to who we really are. The result: only surface connection is possible.
Connection Solution: Be uniquely YOU.
Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Don’t try to look and sound like someone else, and don’t hold back! Be vulnerable and open. Share your real story and goals. Tell others about your wife, kids and parenting struggles. Talking about the weather does not build connection. Being real does.
And remember, when in doubt, look at the person you’re trying to meet as a future good friend. How would you treat them if they were someone close to you? If you lead with that question, what to do and not to do becomes pretty obvious.
Burn the above list of connection faux pas in your brain, commit to never doing them again, and start practicing the connection solutions to make you instantly memorable!
This stuff is only useful if we put it to work. Start small and have some fun – pick one of these 9 connection solutions that you plan to apply this week and for bonus points, share with us which one of the connecting faux pas crimes you been most guilty of in the past and how you commit to making a change.
Here’s to being memorable!
– Leah, Naz, Chelsea & the LYL Team
P.S. These connecting habits are a small sample of what’s covered in How to Connect With Anyone, which will be opening again soon! Click here to get on the Insider Access List and receive The 31 Habits of People Who Connect with Anyone.