Last Sunday, my husband and I were invited to a fancy cocktail party for a colleague of his that had just retired. He began the thanks speech by saying that we were there under false pretences. That it was not a celebration of his career, instead, it was a thanks to all those that supported his career journey! What a beautiful sentiment.
Then he humbly went around the room sharing stories and insights of each person he had invited. My husband had become a friend through their mutual interest in exercise and they had formed a ‘plodders’ group to run together many years ago. The other 2 plodders were also there with their wives and the room had a lovely connected energy.
In so many situations, I’ve observed how common interests and shared experiences directly lead to bonds of familiarity. It’s that moment when you discover someone you just met at a corporate event lives in the same suburb or went to the same School/University!
Why is this important? Well, we all have what is called Familiarity Bias, where we gravitate to what’s familiar. By connecting on a personal level, we form more genuine relationships and the more bonds you have the closer you feel to that person.
Here are 3 ways to create bonds that connect you to others;
When in conversations, avoid asking direct questions and share something about yourself first. This helps relax people and sets the tone that you are there to connect rather than gain something. Psychologically, the person will feel closer to you faster the more common interests you find and often share more with you.
This is age old technique for being like someone. When done naturally, correctly and only for positive behaviours it works so well as the bond takes place at a sub conscious level. Research has found that when someone mirrors your behaviour, the areas of your brain that activate are the same ones that process rewards and make you feel good.
Activate the Bond
It’s one thing to discover common ground, but when you act on it by arranging to actually do what you have in common together you strengthen the bond. Interestingly the more unique the activity, like rock climbing over going for sushi, the closer the bond will be!
Imagine your retirement party at some point in your future– the room full of friendly faces who’s lives you impacted and who helped you achieve success in return. Wouldn't it be great to know that you were truly, authentically and genuinely connected to your network!
As always, get in touch with stories or questions.
Julia Palmer, a respected Networking Strategist and Chief Executive of the Business Networking Academy, presenting and training on how to create and manage networks that work. To learn more visit www.juliapalmer.com & www.BusinessNetworkingAcademy.com.au