Truly connecting with others is a skill and quality that seems to be fading in our world. With social media being as popular and widely used as it is, and with everyone wanting to push their own thoughts and feelings, we seem to have replaced connecting with communicating. Often we put communicating and connecting in the same category; however, they are actually very different.
Communicating to people is simple and can be done by anyone, connecting with people is genuine and comes from the heart. Connecting is intentional toward the individual. It is putting yourself in that other person’s life; getting out of your world and getting into theirs. The greatest leaders are the ones that connect with individuals; they go further than just communicating. Although communicating can be effective, nothing is as effective as genuine connection with another human being.
Definition of communicating: To convey knowledge of or information about.
Definition of connecting: To place or establish in relationship.
Establishing relationship is more powerful than conveying knowledge.
Changing from being someone that just communicates to people around them to someone who is truly connecting can be difficult; it requires many things. In this post I want to share the 4 main things that have helped me change from communicating to connecting:
1. Connecting with others requires us to be intentional.
We have to be willing to give our attention, energy and time in order to be intentionally connecting with others. Philippians 2:3-4 tells us to value others above ourselves, not looking to our own interests but to the interests of others. We have to plan to connect with others, because it rarely happens organically.
2. Connecting with others requires us to always go the extra mile.
Be willing to do things for others that others are not willing to do. Be the one to initiate. We have to be willing to put our own thoughts aside in order to hear someone else’s. John 15:13 tells us to lay down our lives for our friends. This means that there will be times in connecting with others that we need to put our wants and desires aside in order to hear someone else’s.
3. Connecting with others means we add value to their lives.
Make it a daily goal to add value to the lives of other people. How do we do this? By sharing the wisdom and knowledge that God has shared with us. Proverbs 13:20 says to walk with the wise and become wise. We all have some wisdom that can help others around us grow. We need to really care to add value to others lives and share what God has blessed us with in a conversational way, not a teaching.
4. Connecting with others requires us to be an encouragement.
Encouragement has become such a rare thing in the world we live in. Hebrews 10:24-25 says to consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, but encouraging one another. People need to feel loved and know that what they are doing is important. If we are truly connecting with someone we will know what they are going through, both good and bad, and be able to encourage them in and through it. Make it a goal to always encourage the individuals that you are connecting with.