Are you connecting with others? Are you sure?

You have likely heard the expression you have two ears and one month for a reason, and that you should use them proportionately. In other words, you should be listening more than you should be talking. However, this doesn’t seem to be a well understood concept for everyone.

At the heart of connecting with others is being able to listen, and to do this well. Yes, this seems overly simplistic, but in reality, it’s not. Truly listening and hearing what someone is saying takes focus and practice. Consider the last time you spoke with someone. Do you think they were intently paying attention to everything you were saying? Or, were they like most people, and only semi involved in the conversation and doing a lot of head nodding and saying “ungh-hungh”?

When it comes to connecting with other people, the ones who have mastered this are similar to a Swiss Army Knife. You know, the kind of knife that has lots of different tools on it which can be used in many different circumstances. The act of connecting with a person is not a single dimension activity. Although listening well is one of the components required to connect with someone, it’s only one of the actions involved with the process.

If you were to break down the visual process of being able to connect with other people, it likely wouldn’t be a straight-line diagram. In fact, it would probably look like a scatter gram plotted across a sheet of paper. It would contain many starts and stops, and multiple directions in the visual engagement plotted on paper prior to landing at an end point. The end point also might in fact be the actual starting point of the connection being made, or taken to a different level of connection.

Why does it look easy for people who are good at making connections with others? It’s because like a Swiss Army knife I referenced earlier, the person establishing the connection is skilled at leveraging all of the tools required to develop a human connection.

Can this be a skill that is taught? Yes, I believe it can be taught, but don’t expect it to be like a drive through window experience with instant gratification. The analogy I would use in terms of the time it takes to learn how to master connecting with others would be similar to taking on an apprenticeship in a trade skill such as electricity or plumbing. It’s going to take time to become a pro.

So, what are the things you or someone you know who wasn’t born with the innate skills of being able to establish meaningful connections with others can do to improve your skills in this area? Here are some ideas I have for you.

  • The next time you are talking to someone, pay attention to whether you are really, and I mean really listening to them. Actively listening is a skill which needs to be fostered and practiced.
  • While you are listening to the person you are speaking with, make sure you are asking them thoughtful questions which are on point, and not disruptive to the conversation.
  • Don’t try to change the subject you are talking about. Let the person speaking control where the conversation is headed and captain it. Remember to play the role of a co-captain during the conversation and to be supportive of what they are saying.
  • Connecting well with others also involves determining points of common interest you share. By asking the right questions, you can establish at least one item you have in common. Use this as a thread in your conversation to build upon to help further develop the connection.
  • Test your connection strength. If the person you are engaging with is only providing short, one-word answers and not conversing with you, the connection you have is weak. To strengthen the connection during your conversation, start asking the person questions about themselves. I have shared this tip before, and it’s almost foolproof to help you elongate the conversation. This will give you an opportunity to keep an otherwise dead-end conversation going.
  • Your body language can work against you when you are trying to connect with them. One of the best ways to increase a positive connection is to mirror the body language of the person you are speaking with. However, if they have their arms folded across their body while speaking with you, make sure your arms are down by your sides. Crossed arms are a sign the person is not open to establishing a conversation or connection with you.
  • Think of someone you know who is a “pro” connector. Listen and watch them in action. There is a great deal to learn from them.

As I mentioned earlier, developing your connection skills will take time. The sooner you start to work on either developing or improving them, the sooner you will start to experience the benefits of being a strong connector. Remember, most amazing “connectors” are natural at this, but everyone can become better at this skill. Be patient with yourself as you are developing your “connector” muscles. They will emerge at some point after you have invested time in developing them.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whisperer  and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019)and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

“NEW!” Guide for Teams:

Every team is dysfunctional at some point.  Click on the link below to obtain a “free guide” with (5) Proven Strategies To Turn Your Dysfunctional Team Into An Epic One

 

 

Your perspective. How it can change for the better, and quickly.

Anyone who knows me well, knows I’m an optimist, and sharing a world with others who let’s say are not always as positive. Is this challenging for me? Sometimes it is, and in fact I do need to avoid people whose personality favors being negative. They draw down my positive energy, and no one needs others to deplete their energy.

Due to the fact my perspective favors a sunny outlook, even during times when you wouldn’t expect this, I tend to look at the world via a different lens than most. One of my favorite things to do is to help others, see what I see. Doing this provides me with the opportunity to verbally and sometimes visually paint a different perspective for the person I am speaking with.

Generally, after I have helped someone to change their perspective, I’m always amazed at their reaction. So much so, that there have been times I wanted to video what they were telling me. There was one time in particular when I was in the process of helping to change someone’s perspective. The conversation involved a parent relating to a young person on their son’s sports team that I was working with. I was working with the entire team and the coaching staff too.

According to the parent I was speaking with, her perception of the young man I was discussing was vastly different than the perspective she and other parents had. The parent was commenting on some of this young man’s choices, and only had a one-dimensional perspective of who he was. They saw him as a troublemaker. I saw him very differently, and so did his teammates and head coach. The young men on this person’s team thought very highly of him, and of his lacrosse skills. He had high emotional intelligence, was funny and possessed a great deal of energy. Yes, sometimes his energy got him into trouble when it wasn’t constructively guided.

When I was describing the positive attributes of this young man to the parent who didn’t know him, but who had heard stories about him, they were shocked at what I was telling them. What did I tell this parent? I told them this young man had incredible potential as both a person and athlete, and if he was well guided, had a shot at playing lacrosse on a college team.  Can you picture the look of someone staring at you in disbelief? This is what I was looking at.

The best part was that the parent told me they had not heard anything positive about the young man. However, based on what I was sharing with them about him, they admitted could now figure out why their son liked him. They apologized to me for thinking this young man was a troublemaker, and not a good teammate. The best part of this conversation occurred next. It was when this person said they were going to be a public relations champion for this young man. What were they going to do? They were going to talk to and tell the other parents on the team about what they had heard from me.  Hearing this made my heart melt, and I had to hold back tears when I heard this.

It’s conversations like this one that make helping others change or alter their perspective for the better, and quickly that makes me know there is hope for those who you can’t imagine their perspective changing.

So, can you help others like I do to change their perspective? Yes, and here are some tips on how to do so.

  • Ask the person if they would consider changing their perspective. Chances are no one has asked them to do so.
  • Get the person to explain why they think the way they do. Often, they do not realize their thinking has been manipulated by others, and they found it easier to go along with what I call “group thinking” versus independent thinking.
  • If the person’s perspective is negative, or can hurt others emotionally, ask them if this is their intention?
  • If the person you are speaking with is open to changing their perspective, thank them for being open to doing so. It’s not always easy for people to do this, but when they change their mind and perspective in a positive way, everyone wins.

Granted not everyone will be open to changing their perspectives. However, it will be worth the effort of trying to get them to do so. Especially when the outcome can continue to help, as illustrated in my example above. Don’t give up if your first attempt doesn’t go the way you want it to. If you are passionate about changing someone’s perspective, it will be worth pursuing making this happen.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whisperer  and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019)and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

“NEW!” Guide for Teams:

Every team is dysfunctional at some point.  Click on the link below to obtain a “free guide” with (5) Proven Strategies To Turn Your Dysfunctional Team Into An Epic One

 

 

 

Are you bored? Or boring?

I have a source of irritation to tell you about. It’s when I hear someone say they are bored. When I hear this, I automatically think how is this possible? Sure, you might hear young kids say this, but when I hear this from a teenager or anyone older, I feel badly for them. Why? Because they don’t seem to understand it’s their own fault they are bored.

Why do I think no one should be bored? It’s simple. There are too many choices of things to do to possibly be bored. You know I love lists, so naturally I’ll be providing some G-rated options in case your mind is drawing a blank on what you can do to avoid boredom. Seriously, I can’t imagine how it would even be possible to be bored. Can you relate?

If you can’t relate to how I find it impossible to be bored, then I am going to challenge your thinking about this. We all know there are plenty of things we should be doing to be productive each day, and yes, I understand some people are far more productive than others.

For those of you who fall into the former category, you have even less of an excuse to utter the words “I’m bored”. Yes, it might be possible to be bored for short periods of time, say for example when you are sitting in grid-lock traffic. However, this is a perfect time to listen to music or give someone a call. Notice how I didn’t include texting, as in many states it is illegal to do so while driving, and possibly talk on the phone too.

So, if you are guilty of uttering the words ‘I’m bored”, consider if you really are. Why? Because for one thing, I can tell you are not fully leveraging your brain power to come up with more than one or two things you could be doing instead. Even when we are in situations when we are waiting for someone or something to happen, we can still engage ourselves in a productive activity. The first thing which comes to my mind is reading or listening to a Podcast.

Recently at the gym I found myself less enthused when I was working out on the resistance bike. Typically, I would listen to upbeat music while I’m biking, but I found when I switched to listening to podcasts from Ted Talks, the time on the bike flew by much faster. I think it is because my mind is more engaged when I am listening to the fascinating stories being told. The best part for me is that I always learn something new from each podcast.

Going back to the question of whether you might in fact be boring if you often find yourself to be bored, is another concept I want you to give some thought to. For instance, when you are in conversation with other people, are you only talking about other people, or are you in fact sharing information about something interesting you learned? Many people who chronically talk about other people are often the ones who would claim to be bored.

How do I know this? It’s because in the past I felt surrounded by people who often expressed this out loud. When I realized these were not the type of people I wanted to be associated with, I quickly made a conscious decision to find different people to interact with. What a fabulous decision this was! Are you possibly trapped in this type of web?

Perhaps you have heard of the expression relating to interesting people talk? What do they do differently? They talk about a variety of subjects versus people.  If you are guilty of this, take some time to think about why you do this. It’s not that hard to course correct on this behavior style. The first step is to be become aware of the fact you are doing this.

Now, as promised, here is a list of things you can do if you claim to be bored, and which won’t cost you much money. Not having money shouldn’t ever be an excuse for being bored, and I’m sure you have also heard the expression “creativity is the mother of invention.” It doesn’t cost money to be creative, so let’s get to the list to start you off in your non-bored direction.

  • Plan something. Yes, literally anything. It could be a party, it could be a trip, it could be putting together a list of books you want to read, or people you want to meet.
  • Challenge yourself to learn how to play an instrument, or another one if you already know how to play one.
  • Another challenge would be to learn how to speak another language, and to be at a conversational level within a period of time you set the goal for.
  • Everyone needs to eat. Are you good at cooking? I’m not. So, I have challenged myself to become a better cook, and to cook with a goal of making healthy food.
  • Do you have a hobby? Someone recently asked me if I had one. I had to think about whether I did. I’m not sure if it is a hobby, but I love looking at residential real estate, and designing rooms on-line. Ok, my other and secret hobby is finding the perfect IPA beer. So far, Lunch from the Maine Beer Company is my favorite one.
  • If you have any extra time, look for an organization you can donate and volunteer your time to. This can be really rewarding, and your time is more precious than money.

I could go on with countless more ideas, but you get the idea. When you are doing things which are productive, it provides you with a way to valuably spend your time. You also won’t be talking about other people, and essentially you will be building up your conversation list to become a more interesting person. Not the boring one none of us wants to be classified as.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whispererand is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

“NEW!” Guide for Teams:

Every team is dysfunctional at some point.  Click on the link below to obtain a “free guide” with (5) Proven Strategies To Turn Your Dysfunctional Team Into An Epic One

 

Know where to look for contentment?

When you look around, would you say that most people you know are happy? Or, are many of them suffering on a daily basis and silently miserable? It could be hard to tell unless you talk to them. Although, sometimes their body language gives them away.

Is it possible that people who are miserable are this way due to outside influences which they can easily ignore? Yes, I believe it is possible for them to do so, and so does my friend. Yet, unfortunately we know plenty of people who choose not to.

Are you battling daily with being miserable, or living or working with people who are? If so, the most important thing for them to understand is that they do have a choice to be happy. My Mother used to tell me this on a daily basis. Whether she did this knowingly, she engrained this into my thought process. I’m glad she did, as it is a foundational aspect to how I view the world daily.

When you pause to think about your attitude, it takes far less energy to be happy than it does to be miserable. Have you considered this? If not, perhaps you should.

We can easily get caught up in the daily grind and whirlwind of other people’s energy. Sometimes it’s good energy. When it’s not, this is when the challenge of rising above the negative noise from the outside world needs to be tamed. We also have to be aware of the fact the outside noise is impacting us. Not everyone seems to be tuned into this happening to them.  Or, that they can turn it off.

Those who are aware of outside influences impacting their peace and contentment tend to be more self-aware. Whether they have intentionally learned how to do this, or if it comes naturally to them, they have mastered the art of being present. Being truly present isn’t always easy to do. Even for those who are generally good at it.

So, who is good at being present? Most young children are great at this. If you watch them play, it is evident they experience joy. Joy is one of the outcomes of contentment and peace. Who else is good at understanding peace and contentment? This is possibly a deep philosophical question, and not one I normally talk about or write about. However, put to the challenge of doing so, I think I have an answer.

My answer is that knowing how to experience peace and contentment may not in fact be a sustainable emotion or state. In my opinion, it is something which we have to work on. I also think that it comes over us like waves lapping up against the shoreline.  We can enjoy the sensation of peace and contentment, but it appears to be a fleeting emotion. One that perhaps we seek or try to hold onto for as long as possible.

When we start off in life as young adults entering the “real world”, we don’t typically have much money or many possessions. By economical measurements we could be classified as poor. However, during this time period we are arguably more content and at peace with ourselves. Why? Because we appreciate the few material things we have, and the simple pleasures in life that don’t cost much money, yet bring us happiness and contentment. Examples would be walking on a bike path, or on a beach, hanging out with our family, friends and pets or perhaps doing something creative or kind for someone.

At the end of the day, or our life, finding peace and contentment has to come from within. Too often we make the mistake of looking for the satisfaction of these emotions to come from other people, or possessions.

Even if you don’t agree with me, do me a favor. What’s my favor? It is to consider whether you could take on looking inwards to potentially find the peace and happiness you have been seeking. Just maybe you will find it. I hope you do, and that everyone is able to feel a sense of contentment and peace in their life more often than they think is possible to do so.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whispererand is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

“NEW!” Guide for Teams:

Every team is dysfunctional at some point.  Click on the link below to obtain a “free guide” with (5) Proven Strategies To Turn Your Dysfunctional Team Into An Epic One