Talking to people?
Even the thought of it used to make me clam up.
I blame my parents.
Wheeled out at a tender age, having to make “interesting conversation” with dinner guests – urgh!
My sister on the other hand, a complete natural.
In the grown up world of coaching, the ability to connect with people on a meaningful level is fundamental.
Otherwise, how else will you be able to forge genuine relationships which lay the foundation for creating clients and impactful coaching?
Why do so many coaches find it hard to reach out and connect with people without fear of coming across all “salesy”?
What can you do to soften resistance and improve your skills?
Here’s 1 game-changing strategy I’ve learned since those dark dinner nights that’s changed my world.
Ready, Steady, Connect
Play the game of “Connect*”.
The rules are:
- Ask yourself once a day, “who would I love to connect with?”
- Reach out and connect with them
Your Goal: 5 consecutive connects – wins the week!
It doesn’t matter how you connect with them: call, voice message, text, WhatsApp video, whatever you prefer.
See what works best for you.
Red alert: Hitting “Connect” on LinkedIn with zero thought/intention or message doesn’t count.
Pro Tip 1: Reach out with a specific reason.
Vague and generic messages like “Hey Mike, I was thinking of you, how’s it going?” won’t capture attention or create genuine interest.
“Hey Mike, I noticed you’ve successfully completed your seed funding round. Congratulations! I’ll be following your journey and wanted to wish you every success. Cheers.”
Notice the tone, clarity and simplicity.
Pro Tip 2: Get creative
One of my clients started making 20 second WhatsApp connect videos and it changed his world.
Imagine picking up your phone, creating a quick 20-second video, and sending it via WhatsApp or similar.
It’s such an intimate way to connect.
Emails get buried, text messages get lost.
But a short video (or audio) message is intriguing, captures attention and best of all, it’s more likely to be clicked on.
Spark curiosity and stand out, it’s a great format to play with.
“Hey Mike, you popped into my mind today.
How are you?
The last time we talked, you told me about developing a high performance team culture.
I’m not offering 1-1 coaching right now as I believe it’s not what you need.
However, this morning I asked myself one question: “who might want some support right now?”
As you know, I’ve helped leaders in high growth phases align team building with culture.
Supporting leaders to improve communication, collaboration and align around company values is something I love doing and have done for years.
If you wanted to jump on a call for 10 minutes and brainstorm some ideas for you and your team – text me back.
Who knows – perhaps we’ll create a powerful insight together?
One other thing, there’s no charge either.
If you’re curious, let me know.
And if it’s not for you fine, I’m just sending you some love right now.
Remember, only ever send it to one person at a time.
Your message has to be really specific and fit their needs.
Adapt the message to suit your specific talent and skills.
Pro Tip 3: Let go of any hidden agenda.
The sole aim of the Connect Game is to connect.
It’s not to connect with the intention of selling coaching or being disingenuous.
Perhaps opportunities might organically reveal themselves down the line, but that’s for another day.
Pro Tip 4: Be genuinely curious and interested
Nothing screams insincerity more than fake interest.
Being genuinely curious about the other person is the key to establishing a strong connection.
Ask more interested questions than interesting questions.
An interesting question is thought provoking.
An interested question, on the other hand, focuses on the other persons experiences, emotions, and perspectives.
An interested question shows genuine curiosity and fosters a deeper connection by demonstrating a sincere interest in the other person’s thoughts and feelings.
Whether it’s their work, experiences, achievements or latest news – being sincerely interested creates an environment where everyone feels valued and understood.
If you don’t feel curious about this person, move on.
They’re not your tribe.
Pro Tip 5: Do your research
Stop winging it!
Make time to thoroughly research the other person before you connect or initiate a conversation.
Sounds obvious but isn’t necessarily common practice.
Dedicate time to explore their online presence such as social media profiles, blogs, websites, articles, talks etc.
Read what they’re posting on platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn.
Pay particular attention to their comments.
They’re a gold mine.
What topics are they commenting on?
Why does this matter to them?
How does this insight help you to know them better?
Use this information wisely to craft your message or guide your conversation.
Pro Tip 6: Practice going first
One of the most valuable tips I’ve learned and applied is thanks to Gabby Reece, the first female athlete to design a shoe for Nike.
“I’ll always go first.” she says.
If I’m checking out at the store, I’ll say hello first.
If I’m coming across somebody and make eye contact, I’ll smile first.
If people would experiment with that in their life a little bit, be first, because – not all times, but most times it comes in your favour. The response is pretty amazing.”
Gabby’s principle of “going first” opens up a world of possibilities.
Whilst everyone is waiting for someone else to take the lead, be the one to set the tone and lead the way.
This simple act can have a ripple effect on those around you
The minute I heard this, I decided to go first and I’ve not looked back since.
Now it’s your turn.
Embrace the power of going first and watch as your life becomes enriched with meaningful connections and positive experiences.
Pro Tip 7: Schedule a consistent time in your calendar to connect
Every successful coach has productive habits they repeat day in day out.
Don’t leave things to chance or inconsistency.
Consider setting aside 10 minutes in your calendar each day, at the same time to play the “Connect Game”
See what types of connection formats leads to the best engagement.
1. Play the ‘Connect Game’
- Challenge yourself to connect with someone new every day.
- Create a streak of five consecutive daily connects, and you’ve won the week.
- A thoughtful, intentional connection is what matters.
- It’s not about adding another connection to your LinkedIn, it’s about building relationships.
2. Reach out with a specific reason
- Generic messages won’t cut it.
- Stand out by personalising your message with specificity and relevance.
- Express sincere interest in their work, achievements, or news.
- Be direct in your communication.
3. Embrace creativity
- Consider varying your communication format.
- A short video or audio message can be more engaging and unique than an email or text message, giving you a higher chance of connecting genuinely.
4. Let go of any hidden agenda
- Connect without ulterior motives or agenda.
- If opportunities arise organically down the line, that’s a bonus.
5. Be genuinely curious and interested
- Ask more interested questions than interesting ones.
- They’ll reveal much more about the other person’s experiences, emotions, and perspectives.
6. Do your research
- Before reaching out, invest time in getting to know the person better.
- Review their online presence, understand what topics interest them, and what matters to them.
7. Practice going first
- Go full “Gabby”
- Practice Gabby Reece’s principle of “going first” – it’s a game-changer.
- Lead the way in initiating conversations and interactions.
- Set the tone and open the door to meaningful connections.
8. Schedule time for connecting
- Consistency breeds success.
- Carve out a regular time in your calendar for the “Connect Game”.
- Set aside 10 minutes to each day to connect with one person.
Harness the power of these tips, and you’ll not only improve your ability to connect with potential clients, you’ll also establish and strengthen a network filled with authentic, genuine relationships.
You’ll begin to view these encounters not as daunting tasks but as rewarding parts of your journey.
It’s time to connect – not just for your coaching practice, but for your growth as a professional and an individual.
Who you going to call today?
*Credit: Connect is part of the Prosperous Coach method by Rich Litvin and Steve Chandler