Key Point: I think the best people connectors are exceptional students and genuinely curious individuals. One of many things that these people become exceptionally skilled at is what I call “Super Q and C.” They are remarkably skilled questioners and connectors. They can do question “sprints” or “marathons,” “dives” or “surfs.” They are fearless and relentless learners. They genuinely care about better understanding those they connect with.
Do you ever feel anxious going somewhere, wondering if you will be able to have meaningful conversations? It could be a company event, dinner party, whatever… Super Q and C’s rarely, if ever, feel that way. Why? They direct most conversations by the QUESTIONS they ask. They hardly do most of the talking. They usually do most of the listening and yet are very active in the discussion. They typically apply a model or framework to conversations and relationships. They also do so with intentionality and infinite capacity. What’s your model or framework for people connecting? Are you a Super Q and C?
John Maxwell, one of the world’s most influential teachers on leadership has dinner with the biggest wheels everywhere he goes (Kings, Queens, Presidents, Premiers, CEOs, and celebrities). The “skinny” on a John is: If you’re having dinner, you better get the first question in because John is so relentlessly curious, he will “empty your pockets” through a continuous stream of wonderful, stimulating questions. But you can’t fake this approach. It can’t be a mechanical exercise. The participant has to feel heartfelt interest from you. Maxwell is disarmingly exceptional at learning as much about you as he can. He gets into your grill in the best ways, and before you know it he’s better than your barber, bartender, and/or hairdresser at having you telling all that you know.
- Apply a question and connection framework. If you don’t have one, try steps two through six:
- Be present and genuine (don’t be looking over the shoulder for someone more “interesting” and/or at your smart phone.) If you don’t care, why should the other person? Remember it’s about the value of listening and learning about the other person. It is NOT about proving how clever, smart and/or charming you are.
- Apply the STP model. Learn everything you can about the person’s situation (S). Find out about their personal targets, hopes and aspirations (T). Explore with them their proposed actions, ideas and or intentions (P). Hence: STP. Ride the conversation for a long and engaging time by sincerely switching between S, T, and P. Do not make judgmental comments or make it feel like a job interview unless you want the connection to stop or fail. To be a master connector, conversations need to be about the other person and not your noisy ego.
- As the discussion evolves, find out about what/who they love (their heart) and what they have learned recently (their head). Discovering that about the other, will show you really care about sincerely understanding “who they are.” You will help them feel valued. (Reminder: Don’t be a fake applying this framework. If you aren’t interested in the other person, trying to apply this will be counter-productive and they’ll know you’re phony).
- Allow conversations to emerge over time. Often it’s neither practical nor appropriate to follow the conversation to more meaningful depths. And you don’t always have to start the next conversations from the beginning. Press pause and return to the “bookmarked” conversation the next time you connect.
- Always debrief in your head after a conversation with others: What did you learn about them? What will you explore next time? What more can you learn about them? What value did you bring to them by genuinely demonstrating your interest in them? How did you improve or increase the connection?
Be a Super Q and C in The Triangle,
Edited and Published by Garrett Rubis