Interested in making a deeper connection with someone that you may have just met? Here are some practical ways to connect with someone on a deeper level.
- Practice “active listening”. People are attracted to good listeners! Active listening involves demonstrating concern, using non-verbal cues which show understanding such as nodding, leaning forward and eye contact, and paraphrasing what they have said to show understanding. It could also involve brief verbal affirmations to show that you are listening.
- Show empathy. Empathy is not the same as sympathy which involves showing compassion. Empathy involves being able to imagine how you would feel if you were the other person and the experiences they were describing were your own. Have curiosity for their story by asking questions, and show that you care by expressing sympathy.
- Focus on the other person. This would mean to not jump in with comments about yourself. Also try not to think about how this relates to you and your life. Direct your full attention to the other person and allow them to speak.
- Don’t be judgemental of the other person. If people feel that you are judging them they will not trust you. For example, do not make assumptions about people based on how they look, or based on one thing that they may tell you, because you do not truly know their whole story. You can comment to show sympathy without necessarily offering an opinion.
- Be willing to open up in turn to them. This can be difficult! But if you want people to open up to you, then you have to be willing to do the same. It could help to put them at ease if you reveal something personal about yourself, for example something that shows vulnerability.
Also…. Do not expect to connect deeply with everyone. The fact is that it does not happen every time because you need to have certain factors in place. But it could always be worth the effort.
By Ayesha Hamid
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