The habits of connecting with anyone

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

- Aristotle

**Creativity Update: I’m holed up in Lake Tahoe all week putting the finishing touches on our upcoming How to Connect with Anyone course – so I’m taking a quick breather to get this out to you!

For those of you not a part of our pre-launch Insider’s Team, you can still join us and get early access at a nicely discounted price, plus the special report on The 7 Pillars of Connecting with Anyone. The course will only be available to the first 150 people, and our Insider’s Team will get first dibs (before it’s announced on LYL next month). You can join us by entering your email on this page.

Given the upcoming launch, I wanted to share some content from one of our modules.


Habits Create Results.

Over the years of my deep study and fascination with people and social dynamics, I’ve noticed that the world’s best connectors do things in a pretty similar way.

We all know the people who meet people with ease, seem to always have the influencers in their corner and are constantly surrounded by passionate and inspiring people.

Whether they know it or not, they all follow a set of habits.

Let these habits serve as guidance for how to approach the people around you. For me they are a way of life.

They are also our framework for How to Connect with Anyone.

Without them you’re nowhere. With them anything’s possible.

The 31 Habits of People Who Connect with Anyone

1. Make friends. 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.

2. Smile. This is by far the fastest way in the world to create a connection. It’s also a powerful show of confidence, which people respect and are drawn to. Smiles are contagious and the simple act makes people feel better. Whether it’s a close friend, a bus driver, someone you’re dying to meet or you’re just walking down the street or into a room of strangers, there is no stronger opener.

3. Be genuine. If you’re not connecting with people because you care about having them a part of your life, then stop. 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.

4. Contribute. Meeting people is about making their lives better. Whether that’s by giving them a smile, a new job or anything in between – there is a way to help everyone. See everyone as a chance to help. Give like crazy, embrace generosity and make others more successful.

5. Know what matters to them – do your research. The more specific you can help someone the better. This comes from learning all you can about the people you want to meet. Not to manipulate, but so you can actually do something meaningful for them. Read their blogs and books, take their courses, sign up for their newsletters, learn about their interests, family, passions and charity work. Anything is game. With today’s online tools, there is no excuse not to learn about someone before trying to interact with them.

6. Start immediately & connect long before you want something. Don’t wait for the right time, more credentials or some arbitrary milestone. Those are excuses for inaction. Connecting is similar to planting trees – the best time to start was 20 years ago, but the second best is right now. 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.

7. Make people a priority. There is no more important task for anyone than surrounding yourself with the right people. It’s all of our job and a part of every day. It’s not something we do for an hour every week or two. It’s a way of being. A way of life.

8. Be open to conversation. Embrace conversation with those around you. Everyone is a chance to learn something. Your server, the guy next to you on a park bench or plane flight. Even if you came to read a book, realize the best part of your day might be learning about the world of the person next to you.

9. Be well-groomed. I hate to have to mention this but if you smell like you haven’t showered for three weeks, look like you just spent the past four days strung out in Vegas, or have the breath of a dead cat, people are not going to want to talk to you. It’s not about wearing expensive clothes and watches, but it is about being presentable and physically enjoyable to be around.

10. 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.

11. Make days & provide memorable experiences. Get in the habit of making peoples’ days better. This could be as simple as a smile, compliment or heartfelt thank you. Provide fun/unique/enjoyable experiences that make life at least a little better.

12. Know who you are & who you want in your life. Know your passions, goals, talents, interests and the impact you want to have on the world. These will serve as your guiding light for how you can help and who you actually want to write into your story. Act with intention.

13. 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.

smile to meet people

14. Create trust. Every interaction is a chance to either build trust or erode it. Do what you say. Show up on time. Share who you are. Slowly open up your real world to others and they’ll do the same for you.

15. Keep track of everything. After every meeting or interaction, write down what stood out, what you learned about them, their goals, their interests, family, birthdays. Anything goes.

16. Pay attention. 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.

17. Follow up & keep up. Keeping track makes this all the easier. A phone call, lunch, email or casual introduction to someone helpful. Any will do. Follow up with unique value, keep them front of mind and keep yourself in the front of theirs.

18. See opportunity in others. Every new person is a chance to connect and help, and has the possibility of being the person you’ve been dying to meet. You won’t know unless you say hi.

19. Believe in people. Know that most people are inherently good and want to help as much as they want to be helped. They want to make the meaningful connections as badly as you do. They want to hear your story and they want to tell you theirs.

20. Find common ground. 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.

21. Remember names. Nothing feels better than hearing your own name, especially from someone you just met. And “I’m not good with names,” does not fly. No one is good with names unless they practice! This alone puts you on a whole new level.

22. Be the connector. Bring groups together. Host events. Introduce friends who have similar interests. Make it your job to bring the right people together. There is no more powerful service you can provide.

23. Be the mentor as well as the mentee. There will always be people above and below. Be the mentor for a few people not quite at your level and find mentors to keep brining you up. Embrace both roles. You can’t have one without the other. Do your part.

24. Show your passion. 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. No one likes talking to lemmings. Live and connect with passion. This is the surest way to be someone worth talking to – and everyone is capable of it.

25. 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. Just being in new surroundings will cause you to interact with a new group of people without even trying. The more things you do and try, the more things you’ll have to talk about and the more fun you’ll have!

26. Tell stories. People connect on energy and emotion, not facts and stats. Communicate with stories as often as possible and encourage others to tell theirs. Know the fun stories of your life and share them with others.

27. See friends not strangers. When you walk into a room, see the new faces not as strangers but as friends you have yet to meet. You see the world in a more similar way to others than you probably realize – especially if you’re at the same event or a part of the same communities. Approach accordingly.

28. Care about people. None of the above matters if you don’t actually care about the people around you. If you don’t care about the person being a part of your life, you likely won’t do any of this stuff. If we’re going to connect in a powerful way, we must reframe the way we look at people. Enough said.

29. Show up (ideally in the physical world). Connections don’t happen in your house or office. You must get out there, say hello and reach out. This can start with emails and online connecting but this is only the very beginning. Nothing makes a more powerful impact than meeting in the flesh. Don’t hide behind technology. Get out of your office and from behind the computer, work from a coffee shop instead of your living room and be in the places where other passionate people hang out.

30. Create coincidence. The craziest things tend to align when you start to reach out, offer help and share your stories and passions. The examples of ‘random chance’ you’ll hear throughout our How to Connect with Anyone course will blow your mind. This is how I met Simon Sinek, Tim Ferriss, Keith Ferrazzi, Peter Thiel, Gary Vaynerchuk and plenty more. The more time you spend around others, the more it happens. Be in the right places and let chance play its part.

31. Be unforgettable. When you embody these habits, standing out becomes a given. Your existence becomes memorable.

You cannot do it on your own. 

Every successful person (no matter how you define it), has an army of passionate supporters in their corner.

It’s on us to build that team.

Let this be your bible going forward. Print it out. Put it in a place where you’ll constantly be reminded.

Then watch the magic unfold.

There are big things to come guys. I can’t wait to share this course with you. It’s going to be real-time, interactive and will provide a special community for connecting in a way like no other project in the past.

Now it’s time for me to get back to work!


For the comments: What habit did I miss – share your best? And if you have any questions about our How to Connect with Anyone course, please let me know in the comments!

Have you joined our free Connect with Anyone Insider’s Team?

If not, you can still join us by entering your email below (or on this page if you don’t see a form).

As an Insider you’ll get the chance to become a founding member and get early access to the course at a deep discount long before it’s mentioned on Live Your Legend. You’ll also get these three free bonus reports:

  1. The 7 Pillars of Connecting with Absolutely Anyone
  2. The Top 24 Reasons Keeping You from Making World-Class Connections
  3. Simon Sinek’s #1 Factor in Connecting with Anyone video

The top-secret Insider’s course launch is on Tuesday October 9th at 7am PST, and we’re only offering up 150 spots on a first come first serve basis. So be sure to mark your calendars!

Only Insiders will get access to the Oct. 9th launch.

To get in on the action, enter your email below (or on this page).

This is going to be so fun!

  • Jamie Flexman

    Great in depth post here. The underlying theme I saw in this article was connecting = effort. To really build connections in this world you have to really put the effort in. Nothing will come to those who wait idly by.

    • Scott

      Great point- but then again what good comes without a little love an effort, eh?

  • Ben

    Great list, Scott. I’d like to build on #2 Smile with the importance of offering someone your full attention with eye contact. In a crowd, it can be so tempting to divert your attention during a one-on-one conversation and start scanning the room for who you can speak with next. When this happens it really prevents you from connecting deeply and in a meaningful way with the one you’re with.

    • Scott

      So so true. It can be super frustrating to be chatting with someone as their eyes are darting around the room. It’s as if they are just trying to find something that’s more important to be sure they aren’t missing out. Not a fun feeling for the guy on the other site. Great point.

      • Ben

        I was at event last week when this came up. The temptation was to buzz around the room and meet as many people as possible.

        The practice is to realize when you’re speaking to someone you aren’t really connecting with and tactfully close the conversation, so can free yourself to speak with next person.

        Would love to hear other people’s thoughts on what they do when this comes up.

        • Scott

          Yo nailed it – if you can’t be with the one you’re with then kindly move on. It can be tempting to constantly look around wanting to know who else you could meet. The problem is that ensures you won’t meet anyone at all…

          • Peter

            Wow, amazing, I am learning so much from the comments on your articles already. Thanks Scott and Ben.

  • Blake

    Loved the article! Before even getting to the suggestion I thought that I should print this off and paste it on my wall!

    • Scott

      That’s what I love to hear! Thanks Blake.

  • Akshay

    Great list Scott. Very valuable information. To add to this, developing an unshakeable self confidence gives you the power to connect with anyone. If you become one of those people who owns a room simply by your presence, people will notice and be drawn to you. And confidence is the result of having successfully survived a risk. So get out there in the unknown, take risks and just like you said Scott, live an interesting life.
    Love it!

    • Scott

      Perfectly said. The more you get out there and connect, the more you’re able to connect. Pretty simple…

  • Becca Niederkrom

    Excellent list. Especially, love to Smile! I have been making this a priority of the past few years and a simple smile makes for great karma =)

    • Scott

      Amazing how powerful that is. Btw, are you new here Becca? Don’t think I’ve ever seen you in the comments. Welcome!

  • Paige | simple mindfulness

    This list is right on! One thing I’ve been practicing and noticing a real difference with is setting intentions. This is especially important when attending any kind of group meetings or events although it’s just as important for one-on-one meetings.

    If I think that my intention for being there is to get to the “important people” or collect business cards or find a job or anything like that (aka – what’s in it for me?), things generally don’t go very well. It’s like sending out the wrong/negative energy that people don’t want to be around but they don’t always know why.

    But when I consciously set the intention of “how can I help people?” or “how can I be of service?” with no expectations, I get very different responses and results. Smiling, listening and eye contact are required in order to serve the intention. “Magically” I meet just the right people (not always the people I thought I should meet).

    At one large event that I attended alone (and was pretty nervous), I set the intention to meet the most interesting looking person in the room simply to learn more about them. I was looking for a job at the time and presumed that the kind of people who could help me find a job probably weren’t the interesting ones. Turned out that when I approached and introduced myself to the person who looked very interesting, he was probably the most well-connected person in my profession (and has turned out to be one of the most helpful). And he’s a really great guy.

    By dropping the high expectations for specific outcome, I have more fun which also makes it easier to meet and connect with others. People want to be around people who are having fun.

    • Scott

      That last sentence says it perfectly Paige – “People want to be around people who are having fun”. Enjoy the process and people are automatically drawn to you. Very well said and congrats on the success!

    • Malavika Thirukode

      Paige, I am now in exactly the same place you were before when it comes to meeting new people. I keep thinking to myself ‘what is in it for me?’ It seems we have misunderstood ‘networking’ . As a stand alone, it seems impersonal and opaque. Like you said, “People want to be around people who are having fun.” I would also include “and are good story-tellers, inspirational and willing to build the mentor-mentee connection with you’.

      If ‘networking’ is communicated to young people as a process that they are allowed to customise (that it does not necessarily have to be a conference or a board room, that it can be anything from volunteering to excercising), it is finding your inspiration and joining the dots, there just might be more takers. It creates the transparency required to not only make the connection, but sustain and nurture the connection. It allows for thinking that less is more and like Scott mentions in his comment we need to be reminded more often that if we enjoy the process, people will automatically be drawn to us and our aspirations.

      Thanks Paige and Scott, both of your comments just gave me my day’s ‘Aha!’ moment.

  • Carmelo

    After all, we’re all in this together, aren’t we? Sometimes we have the mindset that we never know when we might need someone, something … some help. But, the truth is, we always need people for a rich life. Every day.

    We, as entrepreneurs and bloggers often forget that I fear.

    Getting some sun, Scott? Have fun on those boulders!

    • Scott

      Indeed Carmelo – EVERYONE needs help.

      Was out on those rocks just yesterday – actually swam to a few and jumped around. You just can’t beat Tahoe!

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  • Aaron Black

    Lots of good points. I’ve always found that the shortest and deepest route to connection is through identity based questioning. What I mean is something like this:

    1. What do you do?
    2. How did you get into that?
    3. Did you always want to be a {fill in the blank}

    It goes beyond the general utilitarian question of “what do you do?” By only asking that we’re really asking “what can you do for me?” Yet it’s still a great kickoff question because people have been asked the question so many times that they don’t mind saying, usually, and the deeper follow up questions flow naturally. It’s funny how the conversation always end’s up on parents or childhood, and I’ve found some of the most deep and meaningful conversations have evolved from this approach. I’m going to have to do a blog post on that sometime.

  • Michele

    Funny when I look at all of these 31 habits of the worlds best connectors I can’t believe how is and simple it’s easy to do. It’s pretty much common sense and decency.

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    I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Thanks

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  • Kenneth Vogt

    Scott, I have a hard confession to make. I have a real problem with remembering names. It’s ridiculous. If I don’t hear someone’s name four or five times there is no hope that I will remember it. I like people and I am offended for them that I don’t remember their names! It’s odd because I am naturally a detail person and I remember details with no effort or “habit”. I realize in #21 you basically say, “Get over it.” Believe me, I would love to. Do you have any more specific guidance on how to build this great habit?

    • Kenneth Vogt

      I have to laugh at myself that I innocently and without thought opened that comment with your name. But to make my point, after I saw it I had to go look on your page to see if I got your name right because I couldn’t remember. I obviously want to remember and use people’s names. Help!

      • Hiwot

        Hello Kenneth,

        I read in one of Dale Carnegie books ” A person’s name, to that person, is the sweetest most important sound in any language”.
        And he mentioned 3 steps that could help you remember a persons name.

        1) Impression

        You need create an impression of them in your mind. This means, you need to pay attention and notice the details about them, their characteristics and the information that they give you.

        2) Repetition

        Repeating the name you are trying to remember helps cement it in your short term memory. Daily refresh of the name over longer periods of time will put the name in your long term memory.

        3) Association

        To remember a name over a longer period, create some type of association between the name you want to remember and something you already remember well. One method of practicing this is using Mind Pictures. As Dale Carnegie explains:

        Paint a mind picture of the person whose name you want to remember doing something that reminds you of the person’s name. Have the face and body of the person you wish to remember in the picture so that, when the picture comes to mind, you get both the face and the name. Be sure that the picture is absurd and exaggerated and that it depicts motion.

        Hope you find this useful!

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  • Michelle

    Smile. This is what I like the most. A simple smile can have a big effect to anyone who sees it.

  • outtahere78

    Smile. I always forget to smile. Probably because I get nervous!

  • Danielle

    I feel like it’s important to point out another communication habit essential to building strong connection with your contacts to add to your already incredible list.

    Paying attention to how WE respond is also key. Active or passive responses can give the person you are trying to build a connection with a feeling of worth or a feeling of insignificance. Think of the child who comes in with an A and wants to show it off but you are otherwise occupied and say “oh that’s great, now go put it on the fridge”. That was a missed opportunity for connection and to praise in a manner that will encourage repeat success. Often times we don’t even realize we are doing this. As we build business relationships we often hear random things occurring in our client’s lives, like “it’s been so busy here, they promoted me last week and I’m swamped”. Most folks let it pass with no mention of the promotion (*hint that was news, and them trying to connect with… you guessed it… YOU) and say something noncommittal like oh it’s no big deal. Only referring to the ‘busy’ part of the statement has completely changed how this person is now willing to communicate with you. Think how much more valued this person would feel if in your response you asked a question, allowed them to bask a bit or encouraged them to re-enter that “state” of feeling awesome. Now think how much more your relationship will benefit from genuine conversation as opposed to the off the cuff “that’s nice”.
    This list is awesome for making connections, forming habits on excellent communication skills is how we will KEEP them long term :)

    Perhaps that can be a following segment…

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  • Sarah

    Dead cats don’t breathe, and therefore don’t have bad breath :) Just saying. LOVED the article! (and no, that’s no the only thing I took away from it) I’m pretty introverted so I’m very selective as to who I seek out to connect with (which is a good thing, I think!). I associate with the people I genuinely like and relate to. I’m interested in broadening my horizons a bit and being a little more open with people, because I know you can learn SO MUCH from the people you cross paths with in life. This article was very helpful, thanks!

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  • Jenn

    GREAT article! But I have a question –

    Some of the teachers out there say what you do. Do for others from the heart and your needs will be taken care of. But the other half say, take care of yourself first. Because if you dont, you wont be at your best to give to others.

    So which is it? Do I go after my needs first, or others?

    Thanks for any clarification on this.

  • Michael Ceccon


    Such a good reminder. Some really powerful and basic reminders about what is really important.

    This will help for sure. Thanks!

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  • Brendan Jonesrebandt

    I’ve found a few times that you mention one of your favorite actions to do when meeting others is to give them valuable information, often in the form of a book that you think they would find really helpful. I’ve started doing this the last few years when I read something and know a particular friend would really benefit from it. A few that I have found incredibly interesting to people with certain personal traits are Nutrient Timing by John Ivy and Robert Portman, Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth and The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. What are a few of your favorite books to give to help build rapport with others?

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