When the ‘old me’ met people for the first time I used turn my filter up high.
Most of the time I would play the ‘nice guy’ and refrain from saying what was on my mind.
I wanted people to like me.
I hoped that if I nodded and agreed with what the other person was saying or doing they would.
That rarely worked, if at all.
People would say “Mick’s a pretty cool guy,” or “Mick’s pretty easy-going,” but that’s as far as it would go.
Or if I was really lucky they would add me on Facebook.
I never made meaningful friendships or connections this way.
Turn Your Filter Down
By turning you filter down and saying what’s on your mind you make meaningful friendships or connections.
Because people respect, value and appreciate you for who you are.
If they don’t then you know they’re not the right fit for you.
Read “Why You Run Out Of Things To Say… for awesome tips on starting and holding a conversation.
Those that mind don’t matter; those that matter don’t mind
Be Vulnerable/Be Honest
I had been struggling with ‘telling the truth’ when people asked me what I do.
I wouldn’t lie but I wasn’t honest, either.
I would tell them that I am a youth worker as opposed to I’m studying youth work.
This is never a good place to come from.
It would leave me feeling like shit – I had to continue telling this ‘white’ lie when I caught up with someone I’d just met or to the women I was dating…no guessing how that went.
I elaborated the truth because I thought people wouldn’t like me or look down on me if I said I wasn’t working.
This was a limiting belief that I had carried since I was in my late teens.
It was needy, approval seeking behaviour.
Toxic people made me feel worthless for not having a job and I believed it.
When asked what I do the other night at a Meetup I said “I’m studying youth work. I spent 15 years in sales and now I’m following my purpose in life.”
It felt so liberating.
Actually, it felt bloody amazing!
I don’t care now if people judge me or don’t like me.
I don’t need their approval I don’t need them to like me.
I love and respect myself.
I know my value and worth.
I know my purpose in life and where I am going.
I know who I am.
The icing on the cake came when asked, in front of everyone, if I would return. I confidently responded: “I like the way you run this group and I’m committed to improving this area of my life, however, I am trialing a few groups at the moment, so I am unable to say yes or no at this stage.”
Hell yeah, say it like it is baby!
Active listening skills are essential in counselling/community services.
I have learned this skill in my youth work studies and use it when meeting people for the first time.
In short, active listening is re-stating or rephrasing what the other person said.
This makes the person feel like they are being heard and you are showing a genuine interest in what they are saying.
This builds rapport and trust very quickly.
Below is an example of active listening techniques:
Me:”So what do you for fun?”
Person: “I like seeing live bands.”
Me: “When you say live bands do you mean local bands or the bands you like?”
Me:”What bands do you like?”
Person: “I’m into 80s metal..Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer…”
Me: “Metallica rocks! What’s your favourite song?”
Me: “Nice…mine’s Enter Sandman. What do you like most about One?”
Person: “It’s dark and gritty and I like how the song builds.”
Me: “When you say how the song builds do you mean how it goes from mellow acoustic guitars to aggressive electric guitars?”
Person: “Yeah, and the story it tells along the way strikes a chord with me.”
This conversation went on for a good hour and I established trust and rapport using active listening techniques.
I turned my filter down, shared stories and showed genuine interest in the other person throughout.
I was vulnerable and honest.
The result: I made a genuine connection with someone who shares common interests, passions and pursuits.
Use these three genuine ‘hacks’ next time you meet someone for the first time and you’re almost certain to make a genuine connection.
Let me know how you go.