John C. Maxwell, author of the classic book about connection called Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently, began his book with a simple but vivid story. He spoke of being on an overseas phone call during which he was disconnected several times right in the midst of some substantive discussions. The result was frustration, annoyance, and even anger.

“Being disconnected wastes your time,” he related. “It interrupts the flow of what you're trying to accomplish, and it undermines your productivity. The bottom line is that connecting is everything when it comes to communication.” He makes the case that learning to connect effectively with others can transform both your personal and business life. I certainly agree. In his book, Maxwell based his discussion on five “Connecting Principles” and then elaborated on the practices through which connections can be made and cultivated.

In the three years since I read his book, I have developed my own principles of connection below. There is some overlap with Maxwell's, but these go a bit farther and embrace principles of biology, psychology, and social science.

Heartspoken's principles of connection

  1. We are neurobiologically wired for connection. Dr. Brené Brown made this statement in her TED Talk about the power of vulnerability, and it is borne out in studies of emotional psychology and emotional intelligence. This constitutes a mandate for us as humans to understand and cultivate connection.
  2. Caring must come before genuine connection. Connecting without caring is glad-handing at best…manipulation at worst.
  3. Connection means focusing on the other person and believing in her inherent value. This almost always begins with attentive listening.  [Updated after Esther Miller's comment below.)
  4. Connect is a verb, not a noun. Therefore it requires action on our part to create true connection.
  5. Anyone can improve her ability to connect effectively. The notion that only outgoing people can connect well is a myth.
  6. Connection creates a conduit through which positive energy flows. This energy moves through the person with whom you're connected and beyond in a ripple effect. There is both measurable electrical energy involved as well as psychological and emotional energy that result in warm feelings, trust, and influence.

I am going to build a great deal of my future content on these principles of connection, so I want to get them right. Can you add any others? Do you agree that these lie at the heart of genuine connection? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion at my Facebook Page.

To read my review of Maxwell's book, CLICK HERE. Order today from Amazon:

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