Connecting with People

Leil Lowndes is a speaker and communications consultant and author of several books, including How to Instantly Connect with Anyone. Lowndes provides tips for creating quick bonds with people you meet.  Her theory is that if you can make people feel at ease with you (and good about themselves) you will be able to network more easily, close more sales and get more job offers.  She calls this skill Emotional Prediction, or EP.  EP takes the concept of Emotional Intelligence and adds a layer: the ability to predict how someone will feel in a given situation. 

Being tuned in to other people’s emotions – and taking steps to make them feel better about themselves – will help you become more likeable.  Lowndes says that people will associate you – and the memory of you – with the emotion they experienced when they met you.  If you make someone uncomfortable, she’ll avoid you.  Make him feel warm and appreciated, and he’ll get a warm feeling whenever he thinks about you.

Some people are naturals at this skill; we call people “charming” and “charismatic” as a sort of shorthand for the ability to make people like them instantly.  If you’ve ever been in a room with former president Bill Clinton, you’ve seen that particular power of attraction. Lowndes knows that not everyone is born with this gift, so she provides 99 tips on how to master the art of connection.

She provides a wide variety of tips, from making meaningful eye contact if it’s difficult for you (tell yourself that you’ll need to describe the exact color and shape of the person’s eyes after you meet) to how to start a friendship with someone.  Her friendship advice is simple: find a way to connect with your prospective friend two or three times after meeting.  For example: you meet someone at a networking event and decide that he or she would be a cool person to know for professional (or personal) reasons.  Lowndes suggests striking up a conversation about something the other person is passionate about and asking for advice. Let’s say your acquaintance is a movie buff.  Ask for a recommendation on the best film of the past year.  Rent the film, and then provide feedback and thanks to your new contact.  Ask for more recommendations periodically via phone or email.  When you see an opportunity, offer something of value, like tickets to a local film debut and voilà – you’ve formed the basis for a friendship.

If you’re working on expanding your network or determined to make more connections in 2011, How to Instantly Connect with Anyone might be the book for you.  Look for more connection tips in future posts.

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