How To Connect With People: 12 Effective Ways To Connect With Anyone

Many people wonder how to connect with people in a meaningful way. Connecting with people is a great feeling. It gives a sense of familiarity and helps individuals bond with another person to make friends and develop relationships.

For some people, making connections with others seems effortless. Certain colleagues, relatives, or friends have skills in starting a conversation or know what to say to start a positive flow of communication with one another. While outgoing or extroverted people seem to have an easier time building connections and friendships, the truth is that anyone can develop the skills needed to connect with people in business and everyday scenarios.

People who are introverted or considered less social may not engage as widely with others at work, parties, and other social or networking functions. While less social individuals may seem genuinely uninterested in meeting others, they usually make a point of observing and listening before they speak.

Nevertheless, even social people encounter challenges in building connections and networking with others. Every social function or business interaction offers challenges that many people find difficult, although with some practice, connecting with people can improve with some important tips for establishing relationships.

1. Share Something Fun and Personal to Start a Connection

Offering a bit of information at the start of a conversation can break the ice and get people talking. Sharing a favorite article or blog post, an upcoming film or event, or a favorite food or exercise habit can start the perfect conversation to get to know someone.

For example, a statement could begin with, “I enjoy running every morning. What gets you motivated to start the day?” Begin with a bit of personal information, then ask a friendly question. Always keep it light and fun by expressing a true interest in the other person.

People generally enjoy talking about something they are passionate about. They also appreciate when someone else listens or pays attention to them and what they have to say. Common questions such as “What is your favorite documentary?” or “What do you enjoy doing in your free time?” are great ways to show a desire to start a connection.

It’s important to show interest in the other person instead of simply focusing on your own interests. Unless someone is eager to hear about you first, they will likely respond more readily when there is a real effort to connect with them by asking meaningful, friendly questions. It’s only human to want to connect, even for less social people, as almost everyone wants to feel like they are heard and that what they say is important.

Related: How to Keep a Conversation Going and Never Run Out of Things to Say

2. Make a Genuine Compliment or Positive Observation

“You have a wonderful smile,” “I like the way you handled that situation,” and “Your positive attitude makes everything better” are examples of how you can make a family member, friend, or colleague feel great about themselves while building a strong rapport.

This method works for everyone, whether it is people you are familiar with, such as a friend or colleague, who could benefit from a stronger connection, or someone new. When meeting someone for the first time, making a positive observation or asking for advice is one of the best ways to connect with a new person.

Make eye contact, and show real interest through interactive body language, such as a nod, wave, or a smile. People generally respond well to a compliment and are more likely to engage and talk, which leads to developing a meaningful connection or relationship.

3. Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone to Connect with Others

It’s important to be authentic and be yourself, though in some situations, taking a step outside the familiar “comfort zone” can be a great way to get to know someone. There are always individuals who prefer talking with friends and people who they already know from work and life in a social setting.

Getting to know someone new requires taking a risk and finding out if someone else reciprocates the same interests as you. Ideally, every interaction will provide an opportunity to connect with a new individual, although this may not always work. Some attempts at starting a conversation may not last or end within a minute or two.

Before attempting to converse with someone, pay attention to cues, and see if they appear receptive to talking. In many cases, people are polite and open to talk, even if briefly. It may take a few attempts to secure a solid connection with someone looking for something deeper in some social settings or events.

Stepping outside of the comfort zone may involve a bolder approach and making a statement to grab someone’s attention, even if just for a moment. A joke or fun observation can break the ice and begin a conversation unexpectedly and lead to a deeper connection or friendship in the long term.

Related: Fear of the Unknown: 7 Best Steps to Understanding and Overcoming Fear

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4. Be Yourself

Many people feel uncomfortable during social interaction, either because they are not extroverted by nature or do not feel relaxed in their own element. Many people assume that others won’t appreciate who they are authentically, and instead of being natural, they inflate their personality or embellish to make a good impression.

While this may seem like a great way to make a good first impression, it can quickly backfire when your real self fails to live up to others’ expectations of you. Before you connect with anyone, it’s best to focus on listening first, talking on related points already in discussion, or simply introducing yourself and keeping the flow natural and relaxed.

People are more impressed when you pay attention to their interests and what’s going on than trying too hard to connect with an inflated personality or overdoing it when you first meet someone. Sometimes, it’s best to take your time and focus on listening to people and learning more about them.

There is a benefit to sometimes delaying an introduction, or making a statement, as this provides an opportunity to ask questions based on what is learned about another person. This method of communication shows a great deal of patience, care, and observation, which ultimately makes a great impression on others, and shows the real “you.”

Related: How to Stay True to Yourself in 12 Easy to Follow Steps

5. Extend Yourself, and Accept Invitations to Get to Know People

Starting a new job, attending a networking event, and meeting people at a party may all lead to new connections and invitations to a world of great friendships and new relationships. Initially, some people may hesitate to accept an invitation to an unfamiliar person’s party or event due to not knowing them well enough or feeling shy or awkward.

However, stepping out of the comfort zone is a way of extending yourself and finding a new way to connect with more people in business and in your personal life. While most people are at ease with familiar surroundings and individuals, taking that risk to accept an invitation to a new event can be a great way to extend yourself to meet and engage with a whole new level or a world of successful people and new experiences.

Attending a new event or meeting a group of unfamiliar individuals or people provides a chance to listen and learn about others in a new way. For the introvert or less-than-social individual, just being present in a new company can make a great impression, at least initially.

Take a moment to get acquainted, then speak when there’s a common ground or interesting idea to share within a group conversation. Some interactions will lead to a simple, brief connection, while others may develop further into a deeper friendship or business relationship.

Related: How To Be Self-Assured: 5 Practical Ways To Become Self-Assured Today

6. Find Quality Time to Develop a Stronger Bond and Connection

After meeting someone and developing a solid rapport, it’s best to continue developing this connection over a longer term, whether for business relations or a more meaningful, deeper friendship. Setting aside personal time or scheduling a one-on-one meeting with a colleague or business associate is a powerful way to connect with anyone to get to know them, their goals and develop a meaningful relationship.

Giving someone time is a commitment. It shows that someone is truly interested in getting to know them and really wants to learn more about their concerns, interests, and job-related issues. Whether the goal is to build better communication for work or personal reasons, most people appreciate other people listening and focusing on what they would consider to be important matters.

Sharing common goals and developing deeper relationships also means aligning milestones and working collectively for a stronger result, especially work-related matters.

In personal relationships, it’s vital to connect with people in a way that continues to build and expand over time. There is usually a lot of emotion involved, especially with close ties, making communication key. This leaves less to misinterpretation and allows both parties to connect with eye contact, body language, and using words and cues to convey accurate thoughts and ideas. Every relationship benefits from closer, more authentic communication.

Related: Existential Questions About Life To Ask Yourself, Your Date & Friends

7. Listen Intently to Understand the Other Person

One of the most common habits people develop during a conversation is focusing on what they will say next, rather than paying close attention to what the other person is saying. Sometimes, it’s because individuals are so enthusiastic about what they have to say that they don’t catch everything the other person is saying or provide tips or suggestions based on what they know.

Good listening skills require patience and taking what someone else has to say seriously, as though connecting with a close friend or relative. It’s tempting to interrupt without warning, as some people worry they may forget a thought unless they intervene right away. While some individuals don’t appear to mind, this trend indicates a lack of listening skills and appears self-centered. It can make some people feel unheard.

Thinking too far ahead to formulate a response, frequently interrupting, and making quick assumptions without hearing everything will damage any attempt to connect with others and get to know them. The very idea of getting better acquainted with another person means focusing on listening skills first and reserving judgments and ideas about the other person. When someone listens without judgment, this means they are more open and accepting of someone.

Good listening skills create better conversations. People understand the value of listening when they feel as though they are really being heard and understood. Ask questions and use body gestures to show acknowledgment and understanding.

Be present, and never make assumptions when conversing with others. There’s nothing wrong with asking a friend or colleague to repeat themselves, to understand them better, though always listening first before speaking.

Related: Improving Your Self-Respect: 10 Effective Strategies And Tips

8. Discuss Subjects You Like, Dislike, and Establish Boundaries

Body language often conveys what a person likes or dislikes. If a person shrugs or suddenly withdraws from a conversation, this should be noticed immediately as a sign that a line or boundary is crossed. Friends typically understand this about each other, but this doesn’t necessarily occur automatically.

When getting to really know someone, it’s important to reveal more beneath the surface. This sense of getting personal with family or friends can be difficult at times. Communication is not always easy, and boundaries are often crossed, which leads to strain between family members, broken down connections, and distanced friendships and business relations.

Once a line is crossed, or someone feels disrespected, it may feel really challenging to repair those ties with an individual. Some people are focused on the past or maybe have certain topics or matters that they do not wish to discuss. This consideration is even more important in mixed company, where some people may be comfortable with certain jokes or topics of discussion, and others could feel self-conscious or uneasy.

Working relationships are vital for healthy career development, and remaining professional while personable can take some practice to feel natural truly. Take every moment as an opportunity to connect with others. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t like to talk about that,” or “I’m not ready to discuss it,” or “This is an important issue for me” as a way to establish a boundary.

It’s also a good practice to help others do the same. Some individuals are afraid to say they are uncomfortable with a specific item, especially if they feel obliged to participate in conversations that are not healthy. Boundaries are important for everyone: respecting other’s lines as well as establishing them personally.

Related: Seize the Moment: 16 Practical Ways to Take Control of Your Day

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9. Show Kindness and Empathy to Connect with People

When you show love to someone during a conversation, it’s the highest form of empathy and kindness that you can offer. For some people, the act of showing empathy or love is unusual or challenging because they may not have had this experience in childhood or may not have the social skills to convey those feelings.

Actively loving occurs when you see love as a verb instead of a way of being. This method may seem odd in a workplace environment, though a variation involves vocalizing appreciation for someone’s dedication, hard work, and smile. Offer a hug, if mutually acceptable, and really focus on the well-being of others, including their health and opinions.

In personal relationships, demonstrating love means spending time with close family and friends, offering favors to help them when they are in need, and practicing acts of kindness as often as possible. Offering a helping hand, making someone smile or laugh, or lend an ear when someone requires help; each of these makes a great example of how to strengthen a relationship or connections with someone close.

Not everyone is responsive to a kind gesture or smile. Some people are keen on keeping a distance and maintaining a rigid “business-only” approach. This can be a hurdle in improving communication and finding a better way to connect with others.

However, body language, such as learning to make eye contact and improving a relationship with common ground, can be effective. Most serious, no-nonsense people may find comfort in these methods, even if they prefer not to connect on a personal level.

People remember how they are treated, even more than what is said. Expressing a kind word or two can go a long way to leave a positive impression on someone. They are more likely to listen and respond favorably to people who acknowledge and respect them. It’s important to know an individual well enough to remember what they like and dislike.

People appreciate honesty, even in some cases where they may disagree with a point of view. Always focus on keeping it real and empathetic, as people will remember this about you and will be more likely to communicate on a more meaningful and productive level.

Related: How To Be More Sensitive: 12 Effective Tips To Improve Your Empathy

10. Research and Prepare in Advance

Is a coworker interested in health and fitness? Does a close friend enjoy conversations about world events and current news? Focusing on items that are known points of interest can significantly improve communication.

Some people ask tough questions and may not always be easy to engage with. Getting some research done in advance can make for a more fluid and free flow of natural and productive expression. In personal social situations, it’s easier to know what people want to talk about.

Learning more about networking techniques and themes discussed at the event can be a major step towards creating new connections in new social settings or unfamiliar territory.

It’s normal to get nervous and avoid making eye contact, only talk to individuals you know, though taking the challenge to strike up a conversation with someone new is both rewarding and can spark a new friendship. Thinking through the words you use, body language and subjects to discuss will give you a sense of feeling free and sociable, more so then you would with little or no knowledge at all.

What does groundwork look like for a networking event or social gathering? Many appreciate it when there’s enthusiastic interest in their line of work, profession, or experiences. Find something that coincides with their experience and knowledge about sports, music, career topics, questions, and tips meant to engage with others. Everyone has a passionate subject and is willing to discuss it when brought up at an event. The more you know and share, the better the flow of conversation.

By learning about what others like, there will be less anxiety and nervousness from the start. When individuals are confident in what they know, they are more apt to make eye contact and display a stronger sense of self when they find ways to connect.

Find at least three or four open-ended questions or ideas that ignite the imagination and get people talking. Many enjoy a unique perspective or refreshing idea to liven up the conversation, whether they are a close friend or someone new.

Related: How To Be Funny: 12 Practical Ways To Significantly Improve Your Humor

11. Be Humble and Open to Learning

Enjoy the present and take every opportunity to learn from others. Some individuals enjoy talking about their own accomplishments, goals, and interests. Initially, this may be an interesting way to get started, though it can come across as self-centered and fizzle out quickly.

Engaging with another person to listen and learn is a much better way to enjoy the present and show a down-to-earth, free way of thinking that people appreciate. Nobody wants to talk with someone who appears to be a “know-it-all,” though they will respect learning about accomplishments when it’s appropriate during a conversation.

Related: Learning The Skill Of Adapting To Change: Personally & Professionally

12. Communicate as Much as Possible

Getting acquainted with as many individuals as possible provides the advantage of finding out who is best suited for developing a friendship and which individuals are not a good fit. In life, not everyone will share your point of views and appreciate an effort being made to get to know them better. Some people are heavily guarded and only make connections that benefit them personally.

On the other hand, many individuals strive to surround themselves with good company and like-minded individuals who share personal and professional goals. Therefore, communication is key to finding out where the potential exists for further development towards meaningful relationships.

Related: 15 Ways How to Start a Conversation Successfully Without Being Awkward

How to Connect with People: A Summary

Communication is always key, and looking for an opportunity to start the dialogue is vital to creating meaningful connections. One of the key ways to connect with others centers around making someone feel wanted, respected, and loved. This applies to everyone in life, as people tend to gravitate towards people, organizations, and companies that make them feel worthy and free.

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