Today’s article was inspired by Seth Godin, serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, and global marketing guru. His blog posts are sinewy and rich with insight. If you know him you probably agree. If you don’t – check him out.
There are three ways we fail to connect with people:
#1 We assume they’re not seeing the whole picture. They just don’t know what we know, and when they do, when we educate them about the salient details, they’ll see things like we do and come around.
We like these folks and really want them to appreciate our clearer vision, because we know they’ll be better off seeing things our way. We’re eager to explain what they’re overlooking.
#2 Others miss the point and don’t understand because they’re dumb, pig-headed and easily swayed by “influencers” who themselves don’t know what they’re talking about.
Those influences are strictly out for themselves and determined, above all, to promote their personal agenda – be it gun control, transgender rights, or “good old fashioned American values” (which often comes down to whatever they favor at the time).
Like reason # 1 there’s a big disconnect, but with #2 we’re driven to yell at them, rolling our eyes in contempt, or passive aggressively ignoring them: “Whatever.”
#3 We fail to connect with people because we’re not really hearing them. They’re faces in the crowd, anonymous talking heads, wallpaper at the party. We miss each others’ messages entirely because they’re just not on our radar. They’re the jocks to our creative cohort, or the nerds to our misfit libertarian clique. We never communicate because we’re sitting at different tables in the cafeteria.
If we really want to move those other people, our first job is to get to know them better and truly understand why they feel the way they do.
Seducing, yelling, or ignoring all come easy when we’re reacting to familiar personas and situations. They’re well rehearsed routines we don’t think about. And invariably they don’t cross the divide or get us anywhere.
If we care about connecting with “those people” we have to do the distasteful work of actually seeing things from their perplexing points of view.
If we can let go of our home-team comfort and venture out beyond our comfort zone we might actually be able to connect with a new customer or make a new friend. At the very least we might discover our comfort zone is bigger than we thought.
Hey, readers! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave us a note in the comments below.