Everyone Communicates, Few Connect
I received John Maxwell’s new book “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect” to review for my blog. I read it before I spent a week teaching a series of classes to 135 college students. I’m naturally an extrovert so I easily fit the category of “Everyone Communicates.” However, this book changed the way I interacted with students in positive ways by shifting my focus from communicating to connecting. Communication is important. However, connecting opens the door to positive influence.
“Everyone Communicates, Few Connect” goes beyond communication tactics to relationship building in three distinct contexts. Each chapter ends with principles and practices that facilitate connecting with audiences, groups, and one-on-one.
Maxwell describes 5 principles for connecting and 5 practices for connecting. The principles are easy to understand and well illustrated. As a result of reading this book, I’ve stopped sitting in a chair waiting to speak and have begun circulating through the audience getting to know people. This type of connecting opens the door for me to add value to others.
The five connecting principles are:
1. Connecting Increases Your Influence in Every Situation
2. Connecting Is All About Others
3. Connecting Goes Beyond Words
4. Connecting Always Requires Energy
5. Connecting Is More Skill than Natural Talent
The five connecting practices are:
1. Connectors Connect on Common Ground
2. Connectors Do the Difficult Work of Keeping It Simple
3. Connectors Create an Experience Everyone Enjoys
4. Connectors Inspire People
5. Connectors Live What They Communicate
If you work with people in any capacity, you need to read “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.”
Two thumbs up from me.
Leadership Freak Dan
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I spent Thursday and Friday at an Engineering Leadership conference here in Australia and many speakers emphasised and repeated the mantra “Communication, communication, communication.” as one of the keys to leadership. While I agree on one level it never seems to quite capture what is really needed.
After reading your post I think the mantra should be “Connect, connect, connect.” as it might just get people over the hurdle where they believe telling equals communicating. Connecting has a much clearer focus on the importance of a two way relationship. Thanks for another thoughtful post.
Wonderful comment and illustration of Maxwell’s ideas. I couldn’t agree more. Communication is the channel to a greater good, connecting. So the goal isn’t simply better communication it’s deeper connection.
You have my regards,
Paul writes an interesting blog at: http://samuraiguy.wordpress.com/
Hi Dan, clearly you get 5 out of 5 in my book for what connectors practice.In PCM we have a rule of communication:
‘Communication will take place if there is an offer and acceptance in the same (communication) channel’. The model is brings awareness of the power of not just words but; tones, gestures, actions, inactions, posture, expressions. I’ll check this book out.
I like point 5 too – it reminds me of an interview I read about Stephen Covey where they asked his son if he carried out what he promoted in his books the answer was something like “most of the time, and he is always trying”. Being great or good is hard work, no exceptions.
Thanks for stopping in. I appreciate it. Love your addition of things like tone, gestures etc.
Frequently the barrier to communication is not the message but everything around it. For example, a raised eyebrow or arrogant tone.
Best to you in your blogging,
Richard wrote a very complimentary comment about LF at:
Sometime last week one of my friends on Twitter Caroline Eveleigh (@KTCaroline) had a post on her blog:
entitled “Do you interact or broadcast on Twitter? Are marketers embracing interactivity?”
Although her post was targeted at marketers who keep on throwing tonnes and tonnes of information to the customer without actually interacting, I think the same can be said of leadership.
For a leader I think there comes a time where the talking has to turn into listening for greater connection. I agree with you that the biggest mistake is sitting in a chair and not engage.
Where there is connection towards a vision, even if one party falls down, the other party is ready and willing to lift up the fallen one because they are both connected on common ground and are sharing the walk too not just the talk.
I will look for the book.
For some reason my spam filter caught your comment. I just learned to go check it.
Have you ever read Michael Abrashoff’s book It’s Your Ship (http://bit.ly/coLq5N) It is also a brilliant read on connecting with and engaging those under your leadership. A must read in my book.
Thank you for dropping in and leaving a book recommendation. Leaders are readers. I love finding new books. Thanks for leaving a link to the book review on your blog.
I enjoy following you on twitter.
Best to you and success with your blogging.
I thought communication was it – the be all for relationship?.
Is there any subtle differences or distinction between both. Can we say failure to make connection is the result of poor communication.
If so, would that not make “connection” the ultimate objective of communication. Now, that’s a tall order, something worth chewing. And, I wonder how realistically practical it is to adopt and practice at work.
Being in HR, I have had my share of “connection” failures with employees. I guess it’s a kind of a universal dillemma as HR serves the interest of management.
I am about to professionally fail to make a connection with someone. This evening I am suppose to offer the letter of appointment for the replacement position of Accountant. The prospect is a well qualified classy lady who is looking to move for a wider and challenging job.
Here’s my issue with “Connection”. During the interview, I popped the question, “What is the one thing you dislike most at work. And, she replied, “politics”.
I could not help worry over the weekend how things could end up.
You see, the position is a “hot seat”, with high turnover, incumbents averaging 3- 5 months. The biggest reason cited has been unreasonable and unhealthy work conditions created by ‘helpless’ leadership surviving in a highly ‘politicised’ enviornment.
What can I do to make that “connection” with the lady to help her make the right decision. Should I tell her the “truth” of how her boss runs his outfit?. Or, do I stick with the customary sales pitch in saying, she is about to join the best workplace?.
I sometimes wishfully think, “if only employers could offer resignees a “trial” period to gauge the new workplace”. Imagine the kind of exposures, prospects can benefit from, not to mention employers bragging rights to, “I told you so”.
I am sure gonna pick up the book over the weekend.
Thank you for enriching my learning.
Your comment is wonderful because it’s real. Thanks for leaving it.
Here’s my take on the difference between communicating and connecting.
I can effectively communicate with you without connecting in any meaningful positive way. For example, an argument may be the result of good communication. Sometimes people get angry with me because they clearly understand what I’m communicating and they don’t like it.
Connecting is not so much about what I need but what listeners need. It’s other’s focused not me focused. I don’t have Maxwell’s book handy so I can’t point out quotes. Thats one of the concepts that I’ve taken from the book.
Stay tuned. Lets see if you receive other ideas.
You have my regards,
Hi Dan and Yuvarajah!
I am loving the “connection over communication” discussion! The message is so relevant. I will definitely pick up a copy of Maxwell’s book.
The question: “What can I do to make that “connection” with the lady to help her make the right decision. Should I tell her the “truth” of how her boss runs his outfit?. Or, do I stick with the customary sales pitch in saying, she is about to join the best workplace?”
Based on what I have read so far in the discussion (and on my personal experience) connecting means focusing on what the other person needs. So to prepare for your meeting, you need to put yourself in her shoes – if you were her how would you want her to connect with you?
Ask many “what if” questions and listen intently – based on her answers you will be in a better position to connect with her and help her connect with her new job! Be honest about the situation so that she is armed with the information she needs to make her new job a success. Explain how you will support her and how her skills, knowledge and attitude will help her be a success: be specific! It’s also possible that she needs some coaching to help her tackle the challenges that await her. If she is not the right one, then getting her in to see her go in 5 months is not ideal for anyone!
Challenges with communicating and connecting with people (and their politics) never go away, it’s how we embrace, approach, and learn from these “connections” that makes them deep, memorable, and impactful.
Get her on your team, Yuvarajah, and be an open and willing partner in her new journey!
First of all just asking the question and being conscious of the connection factor is a great first step. My father always told me that you build connections with people by asking for nothing from them, and by offering what you have freely. Even if you don’t achieve your immediate goal (filling the job) I think you are far better off being honest with this candidate. Tell her up front exactly what the environment is like and trust her to make the decision about whether it’s something she can deal with. Otherwise you will find yourself cleaning up the mess in 3 months. If she decides she can’t tolerate the job the way it is, you won’t have a candidate but you will have her good will. She may refer someone to you who doesn’t mind the politics and appreciates the rare and valuable asset of an honest HR contact!
Connections are (as Dan pointed out) rooted in truth and honesty. In fact I have made great connections with people that disagree with me and have learned a lot from being challenged to defend my own position vs. just hanging around with people who nod when I talk :).
P.S. her boss clearly needs a copy of my book 🙂
I’ve been staying out of the comments to Yuvarajah but agree that your book is a great resource.
Here’s my review – http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/survive-your-promotion-book-review/
Thank you for sharing your perspective.
Thanks for the heads up on another good read Dan!
Okay, I will change my perspective from ‘presentation, presentation, presentation’ to ‘connection, connection, connection’! (5/7)
A related, recent ‘a-ha’ moment. In a counseling training I attended which was evidence-based, the connection style emphasized many of Maxwell’s tenets.
This goes beyond counseling of course, to any interaction, particularly leadership moments.
Often we have an agenda as leaders, counselors, etc., and a message or focus, sometimes an imperative. We may be driving 75 MPH and the person we are attempting to communicate with is still in park.
What is the best way to get your message across?
Wait and connect first. Ask about the other person, ask how they are doing, know about them and their life. Listen, don’t plan anything. (takes all of Maxwell’s principles and practices).
Wait some more and make sure they are in a space to connect themselves.
Give them time to shift gears, get the car up to speed. Constantly monitor your connection…too much info, not enough background, MEGO? Remember practice #2.
As you wrote, ‘connecting is not so much about what I need, but what the listeners need.’
I have written too much, time to stop! 😉
Thanks for bringing home the power of waiting. You are kicking me in the pants.
When I’m done presenting, I am running at ludicrous speed. Then someone comes up to talk and I steam roll them. I don’t like that about myself. I hope knowing is the biggest part of overcoming.
Thx for your book review. This topic is always on my mind & heart. Loved hearing JCMaxwell speak at Leadercast this year, Friday.
Look fwd to reading your blog & tweets!
Glad you stopped in. Thanks for the good word. I look forward to your future comments.
Dear Dan, Sonia and Katy.
Thank you for your insights, tips and comments.
Somehow I made the “connection”!.
The person turned down the offer for some other shortfalls in the benefit’s package. Maybe, she had the clairvoyance to see the truth.
Strange as it may sounds (coming from me), I am beginning to believe if the “law of attraction” working.
Whatever, it happened for a good reason.
Thank you and god bless us all.
Thanks for closing the circle on this. I had fun inviting others to offer suggestions.
Thanks again for a great real life comment.
I have to recommend one other book for you and others. “The Revolutionary Communicator”, by Jedd Medefind and Erik Lokkesmoe. It will capture your heart and deepen your passion to connect and not merely transmit.
Its a delight to see you again. I hope you are doing well. Thanks for the book recommendation.
Regards to you,