Building Connection

Communication is not just about words

Source: (Mehrabian, 1981)

Only 7% of communication is by words, so that means that if we want to build connections with other people we need to focus on body language and the way we say things as well as words

The 5 elements of success in social situations are:

  1. Rapport. This is about making the other person feel comfortable with you. Here you need to recognise what you gave in common and work to cementing bonds that can be relied upon in the future
    • Treating the other person as an equal
    • Maintain a warm, friendly manner
    • Finding common interests and experiences
    • Displaying a sympathetic interest
    • Giving your full attention
    • Providing time for things to develop
    • listening carefully to what others say
    • Reducing anxiety or defensiveness on their part
    • Echoing, not mimicking, their body language
  2. Empathy. The ability to experience the situation or problem from the other person’s point of view. It means listening and watching without judging. Using statements to verify what you heard (“So, let me confirm, what you’re saying is …”) and to repeat the words of their sentence, exactly. Harmonising your body language helps to make the other person relaxed.
  3. Synergy.  This is when you ‘click’ with someone and you don’t have to say anything to know you’re getting on well together.
  4. Self-disclosure.  Telling others about you, your life and interests. Your willingness to volunteer information about yourself to others helps convey a positive impression of who you are. It is best summed up as ‘if you don’t give, you don’t get’. Furthermore, sharing a vulnerable detail about yourself makes you more real, and often people will open up themselves to you.
  5. Charisma. This is that extra quality which makes you stand out from the crowd and draws people to you like a magnet. We talk about charismatic people being head and shoulders above the rest, even having us in the palm of our hands.
    Charisma evolves with confidence – it’s not just something you are born with – with confident body language and blossoming in the limelight of other people’s attention.

    • They use anticipatory scanning to look through an audience, then pick out and focus on certain people.
    • They smile a lot and use constantly changing facial expressions.
    • They use open gestures to signify confidence – arms reach out and palms-up
    • They can be deliberately seducing – touching their own hair, picking fluff of their clothes
    • They may hold their head back as if awaiting applause

(Thompson, 2009)


Building friendship through non-verbals

Building friendship through Words

Building Friendship through what you see