They’re asking you the questions.
They are – all of them. Your spouse. Your kids. Your boss. Your team. Your friends. Your clients. The girl who rings up your groceries at the local supermarket. The stylist who cuts your hair.
No, most of the time you won’t hear them ask you out loud. But subconsciously they are thinking them.
And you know what? You’re asking the same questions back in their direction. In fact, subconsciously you’re asking me the questions right now.
What am I talking about? I’m talking about connecting. I’m talking about the three basic questions that all of us are asking each other that, when answered to our satisfaction, allow us to connect with others like never before. They open the door to greater efforts and results from our teams. They provide deeper and more fulfilling relationships with our spouses, children and loved ones. They result in getting that key client or account – even when you may not necessarily have the best pricing or marketing plan.
See, I believe with all my heart that 90% of what it takes to be successful in today’s world is simply the ability to connect with others. If you can master the ability to identify with others at a high level, doors will open for you beyond all imagination. I see it over and over again. Those that take the effort to connect simply win when others don’t. Connecting is so important today that if you do it poorly (or not at all), it can prove to be disastrous to your career, your relationships and your success path.
But to really be able to connect at a high level, we really need to become masters of the Three Questions. Like I mentioned, these are questions that are subconsciously running through all of our heads as we interact with others. Master these questions successfully, and your ability to connect and communicate with others will expand dramatically.
|I believe with all my heart that 90% of what it takes to be successful in today’s world is simply the ability to connect with others.|
Over the next several weeks, I’ll discuss each of the Three Questions in detail. As we explore what it means to understand and master each question, I’ll also share what we refer to at Integress Solutions as “The Seven C’s of Connecting.” I’ve shared these principles over and over again with leadership teams and community groups, and the feedback we receive from their practical use has been inspiring.
Ready? On then to Question #1.
Question #1: “Can I Trust You?”
That’s right. Each and every time you and I interact with someone for the first time, we are subconsciously asking (and being asked) the question, “Can I trust you?” Like I mentioned earlier, we don’t even realize we’re doing it. But we are.
Some of this comes from our basic inherent survival instincts. Beyond that, we’re just not a very trusting society. In the United States where I live, a study done a few years back indicated that only about 44% of Americans trust each other. It’s estimated that anywhere from 30%-60% of marriages will experience some degree of infidelity throughout the length of the marriage. Still another study showed that in any given 10-minute conversation, upwards of 60% of participants will tell at least one little “white lie” – even if it’s to say in kindness, “Of course I love your new hairstyle!”
Have you or someone you know ever taken some post-it notes or a ream of computer paper from work home for personal use? If so, you’re not alone. Here are some fascinating stats on dishonesty and lying in the workplace, from a study done by anonymousemployee.com:
- 5% of lies told in the workplace are told in order to get another teammate in trouble and/or make oneself look better in the process
- 8% of lies are told to protect or “cover up” for another team member
- Another 8% are told to cover up for a tardiness or absence
- 13% of lies are told to compensate for an unfinished project or task
- 26% of lies told in the workplace are to appease customers or clients (“Our apologies, Mr. Smith. It looks like FedEx lost your order, but we’ll send another one out to you right away!”)
- Finally, by far the largest offense, up to 40% of the lies told at work are to avoid a potential conflict or an undesirable situation. These are found in phrases like, “I’m sorry – I wasn’t at my desk when you called” or “I was on the other line” or the classic, “I don’t know why, but I never got that email.”
(go ahead and raise your hand if any of these apply to you – no one is looking)
Is it any wonder that from the moment we awaken until the moment we drift off to sleep, we are subconsciously being asked the question, “Can I trust you?”
Those that can inspire trust in others – they win. They have the teams that will go the extra mile for them and stay late to work on a crucial project. Not because they have to, but because they want to. They’re the ones that have the great marriages, built on trust and mutual respect. They’re able to close more deals and keep more clients. Their kids aren’t afraid to come to them in honesty, no matter what may have happened. They’ve learned and developed most, if not all, The Seven C’s of Connecting.
“The Seven C’s of Connecting” - Compassion
I’m guessing maybe compassion wasn’t the first word you saw coming around the corner in a discussion about connecting. But it’s vitally important. Zig Ziglar was famous for saying, “people won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” If you struggle with compassion when it comes to your relationships with others, it’s going to be very difficult to build trust.
Mary Kay Ash put it another way. She said, “Approach each person as if they had a sign around their neck that said, ‘Make me feel important.’” It’s unbelievable what you can accomplish in your life if you just simply decide to make this your personal mantra. When you stop and take the time to acknowledge and truly listen to someone else, the doors of trust begin to creak open. Get really talented at this skill, and you can blow those doors off the hinges.
|“Approach each person as if they had a sign around their neck that said, ‘Make me feel important.’” – Mary Kay Ash|
It’s important to note that showing compassion and having a listening ear doesn’t necessarily bring results the first time around. Suppose you ask Julie why she’s been arriving to work late over the last couple of weeks. Julie may very well not tell you the full story at first. But ask her again over the next week with compassion, confirm that you recognize her value and that this behavior is unusual based on her excellent track record, and Julie may go on to share about a particular struggle she is facing at home. Your investment in Julie as a person through compassion has built trust.
“The Seven C’s of Connecting” - Character
Simply put, the “you” that people see will either make you…or break you. Character matters. We’ve all heard the phrase, “your actions speak so loud that I can’t hear what you’re saying.” And if your actions don’t match what your mouth is saying, I’m going with your actions every time. We all will. If I know you’re married and I see you try to pick up on a lovely lady in a club somewhere, can I really trust you in the workplace tomorrow? If you’re constantly pulling me aside to share some juicy nuggets of gossip about someone we both know, am I likely to share with you my deepest secrets? Of course not – you might betray my confidence next.
Character matters. We are all being watched – by our kids, our co-workers, our spouses, our bosses, our clients and our friends. Each one of them is watching our actions, noting our character, and asking, “can I trust this person based on the actions I see?”
Next week I’ll continue this discussion by digging a little deeper into the question of “Can I Trust You?” and we’ll reveal #3 and #4 of The Seven C’s of Connecting.
In the meantime, do you have any stories or insights that have brought you success in connecting with others? If so, please comment below and tell us!
Dale Marcouillier founded Integress Solutions in 2011 out of a desire to share basic success principles with others. To find out how Dale can inspire and motivate your team or group with a practical and no-nonsense message, email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.