Everyone Communicates, Few Connect by John Maxwell
This is one of my best books of 2018. Short but highly concentrated. Almost every sentence left me wanting to take notes.
My Favorite Quotes
- The ability to connect with others begins with understanding the value of people.
- The ability to connect with others is one of the most important skills a person can learn.
- Only mature people who are focused on others are capable of connecting with others.
- Nobody wants to be sold but everyone wants to be helped.
- If you really want to help people, connecting becomes more natural and less mechanical; it goes from being something that you merely do to becoming part of who you really are.
- Our perception of people differs based on how they carry themselves.
- Words are the currency of ideas and have power to change the world.
- What you are speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you say. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
- You don’t have to be a high-energy person or an extrovert to connect with people. You must simply be willing to use whatever energy you have to focus on others and reach out to them.
- If you wait until you can do everything for everybody instead of something for somebody, you will end up not doing anything for anybody. -Malcolm Bane
- Helping myself makes me more capable of helping others.
- To add value to others you must make yourself more valuable.
- Being in a hurry prevents most of us from connecting with others effectively.
- If you want to connect with people, you need to slow down.
- It doesn’t take nearly as much skill to identify a problem as it does to find a good solution.
- Connecting is not primarily about learning to become a better presenter, it’s about becoming the kind of person others want to connect with.
- People want our encouragement more than our expertise.
- People will not always remember what you said or did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
- Understanding changes minds, action changes lives.
- Most people’s knowledge far outweighs their follow through.
- Effectiveness of communication relies more on the character of the messenger than on the content of the message.
- You are the message you communicate to others.
- If you want to connect well with people, you must become the kind of person you want to connect with.
- The people with whom we have the deepest connection are those who acknowledge their weaknesses.
- People already know your weaknesses. By attempting to hide them you’re only fooling yourself.
- Deliver results before you deliver a message.
- John Maxwell’s definition of success: Those who are the closest to me and know me the best, love and respect me the most.
- The true power of connection does not come from superficial interactions with others. It comes from connecting with people long-term. In ongoing relationships we are able to make an impact of real value.
- How much healthier would your relationships be if you excelled at connecting?
- How many of the best communicators you know are low energy people?
- Questions to answer about your audience before an engagement:
Who are they?
What do they care about?
Where do they come from?
When did they decide to attend?
Why are they here?
What do I have that I can offer them?
How do they want to feel when we conclude?
- Find out these three things to really get to know someone:
What do they dream about?
What do they sing about?
What do they cry about?
- Before speaking to an audience ask:
What do I want them to know?
What do I want them to do?
- For confronting an employee who is not being successful.
Do you want to keep your job?
Do you want me to help you?
- What exciting things have happened to you this month?
- What books have you read lately?
- How inspired are you by people who seem to be concerned only about themselves?
- Chapter 1: Connecting Increases Your Influence in Every Situation
- Chapter 2: Connecting is all About Others
- Chapter 3: Connecting Goes Beyond Words
- Chapter 4: Connecting Always Requires Energy
- Chapter 5: Connecting is more Skill than Natural Talent
- Chapter 6: Connectors Connect on Common Ground
- Chapter 7: Connectors do the Difficult Work of Keeping it Simple
- Chapter 8: Connectors Create an Experience Everyone Enjoys
- Chapter 9: Connectors Inspire People
- Chapter 10: Connectors Live what they Communicate
Connecting is everything when it comes to communication.
Learning to connect with people can change your life.
Chapter 1: Connecting Increases Your Influence in Every Situation
If you can’t find a way to communicate effectively, you will be unable to reach your potential.
Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.
How much healthier with your relationships be if you excelled at connecting?
The best leaders are always excellent connectors.
Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were great connectors.
The ability to connect with others begins with understanding the value of people.
Jim Collins Good to Great: the ultimate throttle on growth for any great company is the ability to get and keep enough of the right people.
Wherever you find people, they desire to connect with others.
Learn to connect with every kind of person in any kind of situation.
The ability to connect with others is one of the most important skills a person can learn.
It’s something you can begin to improve starting today.
Chapter 2: Connecting is All About Others
Example of tour guide at Machu Picchu, ignored the group, didn’t connect and just dumped facts.
Many teachers and speakers think every conversation is about them, an opportunity for them to demonstrate their brilliance and share their expertise.
Good teachers, leaders and speakers don’t see themselves as experts with passive audiences they need to impress. Nor do they view their interests as most important. Instead they see themselves as guides and focus on helping others to learn. They work at connecting with people they are teaching or trying to help.
Your questions will be about you when your focus is on you. They should be about others.
Zig Zigglar helped John Maxwell, John attended one of his conferences.
If you will first help people get what they want, they will help you get what you want. -Zig Zigglar
Two resolutions John Maxwell made after attending Zig Zigglar seminar.
- I will study good communicators.
- I will try to connect with others by focusing on them and their needs instead of my own.
Change your focus from inward to outward.
Reasons John was self-centered and had difficulty connecting with others.
- Failure to value everyone
Maturity is the ability to see and act on behalf of others.
Only mature people who are focused on others are capable of connecting with others.
Book Recommendation: The Empowered Communicator by Calvin Miller
To add value to others one must first value others.
To succeed in life we must learn to work with and through others. One person working alone cannot accomplish much.
How to communicate an attitude of selflessness: answer three questions people always ask themselves when interacting with others:
- Do you care for me?
- Can you help me?
- Can I trust you?
Mutual concern creates connection between people.
Nobody wants to be sold but everyone wants to be helped.
Book Recommendation: Presenting to Win
If you really want to help people, connecting becomes more natural and less mechanical; it goes from being something that you merely do to becoming part of who you really are.
Chapter 3: Connecting Goes Beyond Words
Many believe the message is all that matters, communication goes way beyond words.
Three components of face to face communication:
- Tone of voice
- Body language
If you want to be successful in connecting with people, you need to make sure your communication goes beyond words, by connecting on four levels.
One: What people see, connecting visually.
Book Reference: You Are The Message by Roger Ailes
You have seven seconds to make the right first impression.
Eliminate personal distractions.
Be well groomed and wear the right clothes for the situation.
Capture yourself on video and watch for personal distractions.
Expand your range of expression.
Smile at people and be expressive.
Move with a sense of purpose.
Our perception of people differs based on how they carry themselves.
Maintain an open posture.
Your physical and mental posture should be open.
Pay attention to your surroundings.
If you want to connect with others you need to be willing to make adjustments.
Two: What People Understand, Connecting intellectually
To connect with people intellectually you must know two things:
- Your subject
- Your self
There is no substitute for personal experience and I want to connect with peoples’ hearts.
If you claim to know something without having lived it, your audience experiences a credibility gap.
If you’ve done something but don’t know it well enough to explain it, the audience experiences frustration.
Effective communicators are comfortable in their own skin. They are confident because they know what they can do and can’t do.
Three: What people feel, connecting emotionally.
If you want to win over another person, first win his heart and the rest will follow.
People may hear your words but they feel your attitude.
Four: What people hear, connecting verbally.
Words are the currency of ideas and have power to change the world.
What you are speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you say. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Chapter 4: Connecting Always Requires Energy
How many of the best communicators you know are low energy people?
If you want to connect with others you must be intentional about it.
To make the most of connecting opportunities you must channel energy strategically.
You don’t have to be a high-energy person or an extrovert to connect with people. You must simply be willing to use whatever energy you have to focus on others and reach out to them.
Five observations about the energy required to connect, and what action you should take to be strategic in using that energy.
- Connecting requires initiative, go first!
- Connecting requires clarity, prepare.
- Connecting requires patience, slow down.
- Connecting requires selflessness, give.
- Connecting requires stamina, recharge.
If you wait until you can do everything for everybody instead of something for somebody, you will end up not doing anything for anybody. -Malcolm Bane
Preparation in three areas.
1: Know yourself, personal preparation.
Helping myself makes me more capable of helping others.
To add value to others you must make yourself more valuable.
You can’t give something you don’t have, you can’t tell what you don’t know, you can’t share what you don’t feel.
No one gives out of a vacuum.
2: Know your audience, people preparation.
Connecting with people begins with knowing people.
The more you understand about people in general, the better you will be able to connect.
The more you know about the specific people you are trying to connect with, the better off you will be.
When preparing for a meeting, the author tries to learn as much as possible about attendees, he uses this list of questions.
- Who are they?
- What do they care about?
- Where do they come from?
- When did they decide to attend?
- Why are they here?
- What do I have that I can offer them?
- How do they want to feel when we conclude?
It takes time and energy to answer these seven questions, but it’s worth it!
3: Know your stuff, professional preparation.
You must know what you are talking about. Have substance.
Being in a hurry prevents most of us from connecting with others effectively.
If you want to connect with people, you need to slow down.
Good connectors do not always run the fastest, but they are able to take others with them.
Anything really worthwhile in life takes time to build.
It is easy to feel connected to a giver.
Being a taker leaves you drained and dead inside.
Being a giver brings life.
Connecting with people can deplete us of energy.
John Maxwell requires a lot of time to recharge his emotional, mental, physical and spiritual batteries.
It is vital for you to find ways to recharge.
Know the things you like to do and make time for them.
Chapter 5: Connecting is more Skill than Natural Talent
One must study communication to improve at connecting.
John Maxwell attended a conference with many well known speakers, these are his observations of those who connected with their audience and those who did not.
Common styles of non-connectors
- Speaking in monotone.
- Lack of substance and content.
- Speaking down to the audience.
- Angry demeanor.
- Poor body language.
- No practical application.
Common styles of connectors
- Mark Russell. Had audience laughing and thinking. Asked nearly 100 questions.
- Mario Cuomo. Most passionate.
- C. Everett Koop. Master at using illustrations.
- Elizabeth Dole. Made every person fee like her best friend. Easy confidence.
- Steve Forbes. Brilliant and informative. Made everything he talked about sound new.
- Colin Powell. Put everyone at ease. Confident voice and demeanor. When he spoke, made us confident in ourselves. Gave hope.
Five common factors great communicators draw on to cause people to listen to them.
(Which theses can you use to connect with others?)
- Relationships, who you know. Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, both knew Oprah. Borrow credibility from someone that already has it.
- Insight, what you know.
- Success, what you have done.
- Ability, what you can do.
- Sacrifice, how you have lived.
Chapter 6: Connectors Connect on Common Ground
Build on agreement, not disagreement.
Search for common ground and build on it.
Top Four Barriers to Finding Common Ground
- Assumption. I already know what others know, feel and want.
- Arrogance. I don’t need to know what others know, feel or want.
- Indifference. I don’t care to know what others know, feel or want.
- Control. I don’t want others to know what I know, feel or want.
Indifference is a form of selfishness.
Good leaders do not keep people in the dark intentionally.
Connecting is a choice and mindset that can be learned.
If you want to increase your odds of connecting with others, make the following choices every day of your life:
- Availability. I will choose to spend time with others.
- Listening. I will listen my way to common ground.
- Questions. I will be interested enough in others to ask questions.
- Humility. I will think of myself less so I can think of others more.
- Adaptability. I will move from my world to theirs.
Book Reference: How to Talk so People Will Listen by Steve Brown
If you want to impact others, don’t talk about your successes, talk about your failures.
Humility means two things: (from Dr. Cornel West)
- A capacity for self criticism.
- Allowing others to shine, affirming others, empowering and enabling others.
Humility comes from: (by Rick Warren)
- Admitting our weaknesses.
- Being patient with others weaknesses.
- Being open to correction.
- Pointing the spotlight at others.
Finding common ground is the secret to connecting.
Four questions you can ask yourself to help you become a better connector:
- Ask “do I feel what you feel?” Before asking “do you feel what I feel?”
- Ask “do I see what you see?” Before asking “do you see what I see?”
- Ask “do I know what you know?” Before asking “do you know what I know?”
- Ask “do I know what you want?” Before asking “do you know what I want?”
Find out these three things to really get to know someone:
- What do they dream about?
- What do they sing about?
- What do they cry about?
Chapter 7: Connectors Do the Difficult Work of Keeping it Simple
Communicators take something complicated and make it simple.
Book Reference: The Power of Little Words by John Beckley
As leaders and communicators our job is to bring clarity to a subject, not complexity.
It doesn’t take nearly as much skill to identify a problem as it does to find a good solution.
The measure of a great teacher isn’t what he knows, it’s what his students know.
If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it enough. -Einstein
I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it short. -Mathematician Blasé Pascal
It takes great effort to make any kind of communication concise, precise and impacting. -John Maxwell
To be simple is to be great. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
To connect by keeping things simple, do the following five things:
- Talk to people, not above them.
- Get to the point.
- Say it over and over and over again.
- Say it clearly.
- Say less.
On getting to the point.
Before speaking to an audience, ask these two questions:
- What do I want them to know?
- What do I want them to do?
Tom Errington, CEO and founder of pascal pharmaceutical [looked him up and didn’t find his name or company, wondering if this is Pascal Biosciences now], recommends this strategy for confronting an employee who is not being successful. Ask them two questions:
- Do you want to keep your job?
- Do you want me to help you?
Get to the point as soon as you establish a connection with people.
People are persuaded not by what we say, but by what they understand.
Chapter 8: Connectors Create an Experience Everyone Enjoys
Common trait of poor communicators is being boring.
Being interesting is a skill that can be learned.
Start the discipline of collecting quotes, stories and illustrations for your speaking.
How to be interesting to others when communicating:
- Take responsibility for your listeners.
- Communicate in their world.
- Capture people’s attention from the start.
- Activate your audience. (Get them involved)
- Say it so it sticks.
- Be visual.
- Tell stories.
Book Reference: Executive Speeches by Brent Filson
It is the speakers job to create interest in the listeners, activate the audience, and add value to others.
Ideas for capturing attention:
- Start with a comment about the situation or setting.
- Begin with humor.
- Create a sense of anticipation. Example: ask them to say to the person next to them, you are about to learn something.
How to get the audience involved:
- Ask questions. Start with a “big win” question that will get a lot of responses such as where people are from.
- Get people moving.
- Ask people to interact.
Before going to dinner with people think of questions to ask like “What exciting things have happened to you this month?” Or “what books have you read lately?”
Physical activity can help create mental activity.
How to say things in ways that people will remember:
- Find a way to be original.
- Use humor.
- Say things in an interesting way.
There is a direct correlation between predictably and impact.
Book Reference: The Empowered Communicator by Calvin Miller
Our brains are programmed more for stories than abstract ideas.
Connecting is not primarily about learning to become a better presenter, it’s about becoming the kind of person others want to connect with.
Never underestimate the power of connection and the impact it can make.
Chapter 9: Connectors Inspire People
Everyone wants to be inspired.
Inspiration equation: what they know + what they see + what they feel = inspiration.
One: What people need to know
People need to know you are on their side.
People need to know you understand them.
People need to know you are focused on them.
How inspired are you by people who seem to be concerned only about themselves?
People need to know you have high expectations of them.
Ask your listeners to do something great.
People want our encouragement more than our expertise.
Two: What people need to see
People need to see your conviction.
People need to see your credibility.
People need to see evidence of your character.
Three: What people need to feel
People will not always remember what you said or did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
People need to feel your passion for the subject and them.
People need to feel your confidence in yourself and them.
People need to feel your gratitude for them.
Understanding changes minds, action changes lives.
Call people to action.
Inspired people take action when you do two things:
- Say the right words at the right time.
- Give people an action plan.
Book Reference: Am I Making Myself Clear? by Terry Felber
Most people’s knowledge far outweighs their follow through.
Most people do not know how to apply what is being said to their lives.
Help people move from know how to do now.
Chapter 10: Connectors Live what they Communicate
After six months, credibility overrides communication.
Credibility is currency for leaders and communicators.
Effectiveness of communication relies more on the character of the messenger than on the content of the message.
You are the message you communicate to others.
If you want to connect well with people, you must become the kind of person you want to connect with.
Eight suggestions for making what you communicate and how you live consistent:
- Connect with yourself.
- Right your wrongs.
- Be accountable.
- Lead the way you live.
- Tell the truth.
- Be vulnerable.
- Follow the golden rule.
- Deliver results.
Connecting with yourself:
Step 1: Liking ourselves.
Step 2: Knowing ourselves.
Become self aware.
Comes from self-assessment.
Take tests to learn your strengths.
Take time to reflect, journal and pray.
You have to be intentional.
Acknowledge your mistakes.
In our areas of weakness.
Allow others to ask us questions to challenge us.
Leading how you live.
Book Reference: Secrets of Effective Leadership
Connectors look at a message as a life to be lived.
Connectors communicate messages that are an extension of how they live.
Strive to be what you call others to be.
When you are honest with people it makes you vulnerable.
Book Reference: The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer.
We all know that perfection is a mask.
The people with whom we have the deepest connection are those who knowledge their weaknesses.
People already know your weaknesses. By attempting to hide them you’re only fooling yourself.
Our lives improve only when we take chances. -Walter Anderson
Nobody likes a phony or a know it all.
Following the golden rule.
Wisdom is knowing the right path to take, integrity is actually taking it.
Nothing speaks like results.
Deliver results before you deliver a message.
Communicate from experience.
John Maxwell’s definition of success:
Those who are the closest to me and know me the best, love and respect me the most.
The true power of connection does not come from superficial interactions with others. It comes from connecting with people long-term. In ongoing relationships we are able to make an impact of real value.
John Maxwell learned his greatest lessons on leadership from the Bible.
Illustration of Moses leading Israel and the lessons he learned in becoming a great leader.
The ability to connect with others, communicate effectively with them, and increase influence, can be learned.
Book Reference: The Bible on Leadership by Lauren Woolfe
Whatever talents you have can be better used if you learn to connect with people.
My Action Steps After Reading
- Putting more energy into connecting.
- Learning to see the value in people.
- Working to become the type of person I would want to connect with.
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