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BETTER IMPACT BOOK BITES: Everyone Communicates Few Connect

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This Month's Selection
Everyone Communicates Few Connect, by John C. Maxwell

The sixteenth in a series of Better Impact Book Bites
A taste of great books worth consuming.

Why This Book:

We hear repeatedly that communication is key to successful relationships. This book challenges that notion. It’s not communication, but effective communication that is the key. Are you actually connecting with the people you are communicating with? That is the real question. This book is great for both introverts and extroverts. This book is 250 pages, is broken down into two major sections and is available on audiobook. It also has a workbook that accompanies the book to help put the principles into action as you work your way through the book.

You Should Read This Book If:

  • You want to enhance your interactions with other people
  • You believe you are a great communicator
  • You often look at people bewildered because it seems like they don’t understand English when you speak with them
  • You are not getting the desired results from your team
  • If you want to advance in the workplace
  • You engage volunteers in either a corporate or nonprofit setting

Who Should You Gift This Book To:

  • Yourself
  • Your team leads
  • Your team

Part 1: Connecting Principles

Section 1: Connecting Increases Your Influence in Every Situation – This section reminds us of what we already know, but often seem to forget; connecting can make or break you. It is also a tough reminder of the false narrative that all we need to go far in life is hard work. In order to be successful, we have to learn how to really communicate and connect with others (ugh, the introvert in me just yelped). It also covers what communication and connection is, almost more importantly, what it isn’t and why your attitude towards communication makes all the difference.

Section 2: Connecting Is All About Others – This section helps you identify if you are missing one important mark when it comes to communication; that what you have to say is more important than what the recipients want or need. Ouch. It discusses that when it comes to connection, if you first help people with their need, they eventually in turn help you with yours. It explores how our ego can be a barrier to effectively connecting with others. Again, ouch, but so good.

Section 3: Connecting Goes Beyond Words – This section dives into nonverbal communication and just how vital it is. Sometimes our actions can speak so loudly that people don’t actually hear our words. So, if you believe communication is solely about words, you will always have a hard time connecting with others. One of the most powerful sentences I read in this book was “You must be the message you want to deliver. Otherwise, you won’t have credibility and you won’t connect.” For those of us whose face gives away what we are thinking, he addresses that too: “If your face is going to “talk” for you anyway, you might as well have it communicate something positive.” This book is speaking to my soul (and my face LOL).

Section 4: Connecting Always Requires Energy - As a speaker, this section really resonated with me. “They Get Out of It What You Put In.” Whether you are preparing for a speaking engagement or a team meeting, people can feel the effort you put into it. If you want to connect with others without being intentional, good luck. As an introvert, the sound of this absolutely paralyzed me, but as I kept reading, the author provides ways to protect your energy so that you will be energized to connect when needed.

Section 5: Connecting Is More Skill Than Natural Talent – What I love about this section is it demonstrates that connecting is a skill that can be learned. Even if it doesn’t come naturally to you, it can be developed and you can become skilled at connecting with others. It dives into the ingredients needed to develop and hone these very important skills.

Part II: Connecting Practices

Section 1: Connectors Connect on Common Ground – Perhaps the number one rule of communication is finding common ground. It applies to any situation where you have to communicate in order to connect. This section explores the barriers to finding common ground, including listening, making assumptions, arrogance, indifference and always having to be in control. It also demonstrates how to cultivate a common ground mindset, reiterating that connecting is a choice, and it can be done if you really have the desire to do so.

Section 2: Connectors Do the Difficult Work of Keeping It Simple – This section points out something powerful: the measure of a great leader isn’t what the leader knows, but what those they lead know. Think about that. It takes skill to communicate complex ideas in such a way that is easy to understand. It is said that “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it enough.” This section also tackles the challenges of communicating cross-culturally. The concept of keeping things simple is easy, but executing it can be difficult. This chapter offers guidelines on how to do so, including getting to the point quickly. The golden nugget of this section and perhaps the book, is this: “people are persuaded not by what we say, but by what they understand.” If we fail to keep it simple, we lose people every single time.

Section 3: Connectors Create an Experience Everyone Enjoys – This section was more geared to speaking to larger audiences, but the principles still apply to a team meeting. It is important to connect what you say with what people need and/or greatly desire. Be visual and use the art of storytelling to capture their attention, and perhaps most importantly, “be the person with whom you want to connect.” Put yourself in their shoes when preparing to communicate with them.

Section 4: Connectors Inspire People - This section expounds on an earlier section, diving a bit deeper into what people need to see and feel when you communicate with them. Are you credible? Do they feel the passion for the subject you are speaking about and how it connects to them? Do they feel appreciated by you?

Section 5: Connectors Live What They Communicate – This section discusses the importance of credibility when leading, communicating and connecting. If you lose your team’s trust through your actions, it will be practically impossible to connect with them. If you have broken a promise, admit your mistake, apologize and make amends. Be accountable to your team and be an example to your team of the behavior you expect from them. Credibility connects.

The Last Bite

Connecting isn’t easy, but it is vital to build healthy relationships in any area of life. After reading this book, my mom adjusted her communication style, and our relationship has grown leaps and bounds after she realized she wasn’t connecting with me the way she wanted. This book has helped me become a better presenter and leader. There are some hard pills to swallow in this book, but any book worth reading will challenge you into greatness.

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