Connecting with other people is easier than you may think. If you keep a sharp eye out for potential bridges, that is.

The clues are there for you all the time, right in plain sight. Train yourself to see them and you’ll find all sorts of people that you have a some small thing in common with.

And sometimes all it takes is a small connection to build on for the creation of a relationship that is mutually beneficial.

Teach Yourself to Listen

It starts by attention to what people are saying. Learn to become an active listener.

LostHistorically this has been a challenging area for me. I had the habit of thinking while other people were talking. I so wanted to have a response ready as soon as they took a breath that often I didn’t hear what they were really saying because my mind was already thinking about crafting that perfect response.

Dumb.

Instead listen to what the other person is saying. Hear it. Then make your response.

It may not come over night. I’ve been working on it for years. Think how long your brain has been working with your current listening habits. Don’t expect to completely change the way it works over night.

But don’t give up improving, either.

Seeing That First Connection

Here’s a recent example. On Twitter one of the folks I follow mentioned that they’d got something done that made them feel “all shiny inside.”

FireFlyNow the only people I’ve ever seen use “shiny” along those lines are fans of the short run sci-fi series Firefly.

And when I say “short run” I mean only a few episodes were ever made. I think only about 10 were ever aired. I was loaned the DVD set once so I’ve seen them. Loved the movie Serenity that built on the “universe” created for the TV show.

It was kind of an obscure reference that you’d have to be listening to catch. One word. Notice it and interact. Or miss it and move on.

Fortunately I’d had enough coffee that morning to pick up on it.

Offer Something of Value

When you do notice a connection, which you will as you start looking for them, you have a choice. Will you interact with the person? If so, how will you interact?

I usually try to offer up something of value.

Even if it is only the tiniest thing, brought forward with the other person in mind, it will help strengthen that connection.

In this particular case I Twittered back

We like shiny. How about some shiny fun?

And I added a link to a silly YouTube video draws some parallels between the Firefly/Serenity world and the TV show Lost. Silly. Fun. Quick. Easy to do.

In the process I strengthened that connection with someone I scarcely know just a tiny bit more than it had been before that interaction.

Oh. Not only that. But I also figured out the real reason those folks on Lost got stranded on that island in the first place.

You curious?

Then check out the video for yourselves. (Here’s a link to the video page for you feed folks.)

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