Six simple ways to build connection

Tuesday night was a big one.  I facilitated an event in Mountain View, California for the Jewish High Tech Community and brought along my friend and colleague Bobby Hughes from Parallel Design Labs to join me.

Over 100 participants from a wide variety of backgrounds walked away with 3 tools they can use every day to help navigate the business world without a script — tools that can be used for networking, interviewing, presenting and so much more.

I want to share one of these tools with you now:


When you think of connection, what comes to mind? And preferably, we’re seeking face-to-face human connection.

Here are 6 tools to add to your toolkit:

1. Eye Contact

2. Smile

3. Be sincerely interested in the other person. In improv we practice this mantra: “everything my partner says is fascinating”.

4. Find out what you have in common

5. Listen actively:  non-verbal communication is just as important.  We have 2 ears and one mouth but often just concentrate on when we’ll speak next. What if we did twice as much listening?

6. Tell a story – connection through storytelling increases retention, gives meaning, and provides what can be a safer way to share emotions.

These simple connection techniques help build trust, safety, and empathy in a group.

Try this exercise with a partner:

Use a minute or two to tell your partner the story of your name (a nickname, family history, etc). When you are  done, it is your partners job to tell the story back to you. Have them begin with the phrase, “What I heard you say is”… and see how it feels to know you’ve really been listened to.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s