It’s been said by many that people do business with those they KNOW, LIKE  and TRUST. We may not consciously think about this, but I’m confident that subconsciously we’re evaluating everyone we meet to see if they meet this criteria. To be a an effective, influential leader we need to realize these three qualities are critical.

But how do you achieve this with people? You connect with them.

Well, what does that mean? There are many ways to connect with people, but let’s look at a few practices that John Maxwell shares in his wonderful book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect:

#1 – Connectors connect on common ground

This is a simple practice that anyone can do, but you have to start by making your conversations about the other person. To find common ground you cannot be focused on yourself. You need to be curious about the people you are engaging. Ask good questions. Listen intently. Be on the lookout for common interests, backgrounds, etc. Spend time on their turf or obey the old adage of “walking a mile in their shoes.” Find common ground and you’ll create a connection.

#2 – Connectors do the difficult work of keeping it simple

Whether you’re talking one on one, to a small group, or to a larger audience, keep your communication simple. Find ways to make complex information easy for people to understand. When you do this, people value your conversations. They will appreciate you! It’s been said that you haven’t mastered a subject until you can explain it to a child. To grow in influence with the people you lead (or want to lead), adhere to the K.I.S.S. principle – keep it short and simple.

#3 – Connectors live what they communicate

This is vital to connection and to your integrity. Do you “walk the talk?” Do you demonstrate in your daily actions what you speak? If you are in sales, do you believe in your product or service? If you’re a teacher, do you adhere to the information and principles you teach? If you are in health care, do you take care of your own health? One definition of integrity is “who you are when no one is looking.” Does your inner and outer life match up? People can spot a phony a mile away. Authenticity is critical if you want to connect with people and grow in influence.

While this is not an exhaustive list of how to connect with people, taking time to implement these three key principles will take you far. Remember, the true measure of leadership is influence; nothing more, nothing less. Take these principles seriously and watch your influence grow.

Be Intentionally Great today!

***If you would like to take a deeper dive on this topic personally, with your team, or your entire organization, email me at chris@leadlifebig. I offer keynote presentations, workshops, and team mastermind group studies on Everyone Communicates, Few Connect by John C. Maxwell.