People like to hide from one another. They may have grown out of hide and seek, but they still unintentionally try and conceal their real selves in their interactions. This is because people are afraid of being intimate with one another; yet it is exactly this intimacy that everyone craves.
Want to make a connection with someone? Then you need to learn how to seek out their true selves in your conversations.
Time: We are not the same person that we were 5 years ago, 5 weeks ago or 5 hours ago. What is interesting in an interaction is what is happening between two people in that moment. To have a highly charged interaction both people need to be invested in that moment and be reacting to one another.
To avoid this people often talk about what their lives were like years ago. They are hiding their feelings of the present by talking about a time that has passed.
Swapping anecdotes of your first day at school can be fun, but bring the interaction back to the present. Talk about how you feel in that moment, and if they don’t follow suit, be direct and ask “How does that affect you now?” This will engage them to start thinking in the present, and telling you something that is relevant to them that day.
Tense: An exciting interaction is one that is focused on what the people think, feel and plan to do in the present. It’s the difference between relating old dates, speculating about ones you might get in the future, or having a great date then and there.
Always think about how what the person is saying relates back to them in the present. If you don’t you’ll only ever grasp the image they choose to present of themselves in the past, or the person they imagine they’re going to be in the future. The present is the real individual and the one who can connect with you.
If they are talking about the restaurant they want to open in the future, ask them about what they are doing now to accomplish that.
If they say they were such a geeky child ask if that is how they still see themselves.
Challenge people to think about how they feel in the moment, this is much more intimate than speculating about the past or the future.
Tell them what you want to do with them right now. The present is the most powerful and sexy tense.
Topic: Most films and books you truly love will be because of the character. People fall in love with characters and subjects, never topics and contexts.
To connect with someone you need to know something real about them as a person: a thought, a feeling or an experience. This is the important stuff. The topic, whether it be music, travel or what ‘Sex and the City’ character they’d like to be is unimportant. The topic is just the vessel that enables a person to express themselves.
You shouldn’t become too invested in a topic as they can be interchanged rapidly. How often have you exhausted all your conversation on one point of discussion and then felt lost for words?
This will not happen if you engage with the real subject, the character that is in the story. If you learn that they’re the kind of person that falls in love quickly, gets angry at least three times a day, or thinks pink is a sexy colour on a guy, then you have a way to navigate and understand every other topic they talk about in a much more intimate way.
People do like to hide from one another.
But they like it better when they’re discovered. Make a person be in the moment, the present, and their true character with you. It is only then that you will start to make great connections.
To learn more about how to find the real person in your interactions, take our Conversation Camp with Wayne Elise and start making the real connections that lead to hot dates, lifelong friends and great business deals.