By Landon Taylor
About eight years ago my good friend, John Bryant, shared with me a simple yet profound statement, “Landon, people don’t do business with companies; they do business with people.”
He went on to explain that people want to feel good when they’ve spent time with you in a business meeting. Yes, you need to provide high-quality work products, that’s a given. But your work products are not going to always be the difference-maker. The difference-maker is the emotional feeling that your clients are left with after being in your company.
Over the past few years, I’ve invested time in studying this insight that John shared with me, and I’ve learned that he’s absolutely right!
I’ve found that people want to feel fully heard and validated— whether conscious or unconscious. They want to know that you are genuinely interested in them. They want to feel comfortable and able to let their guard down in a conversation with you. And it’s even better if they feel like they can safely open up and be transparent with you. It’s so rare that people encounter another person who really hears them in this way. Therefore, if you are a person who can fulfill that desire, you’ll find your personal and professional relationships growing to a whole new level.
Historically, one of the best people at this strategy is former President Bill Clinton. It’s been widely reported that when President Clinton shakes hands with a person in a crowded room of over 1,000 people, he makes the person feel as if they are the only person in the room. He knows how to connect with people on a soul level.
So, how can you begin to connect with people on a soul level and really hear what they are saying to you? Here are three practices of connecting with people on a soul level that have worked really well for me.
1. Be genuinely interested in people. You can’t fake that. If you are authentic, it will always be apparent to people. The way I do this is to remember that every person I come in contact with has a unique, God-given gift, which no one else on the planet has. Therefore, I want to find out what that gift is, and to experience it.
2. When talking with a person, look squarely into their eyes and listen with the intent to feel the emotions behind their words. This makes them feel heard and validated.
3. Prepare yourself by balancing and grounding your energy before you have an important meeting or phone conversation. You can do this with a simple yet very effective breathing exercise. I list the steps for this breathing exercise below:
Step One: Sit up straight with your head and shoulders in a straight vertical line starting from the base of your spine up to the top of your head.
Step Two: Take in a long, deep breath through your nose holding the breath in for a second or two at the top.
Step Three: Exhale through the nose slowly and deeply holding the breath in for a second or two at the bottom.
Repeat for four full inhale and exhale cycles of breath.
When you’re finished, you’ll likely find that you’re much more centered, focused and prepared to really hear the people you encounter.
By connecting with people on a soul level, you will leave them with a feeling that they may not be able to explain. They may just feel that they enjoy your company, and want to spend more time with you. This will translate into deeper and more authentic relationships, which will translate into business opportunities coming to you, rather than you having to chase them.
Remember, people don’t do business with companies. They do business with people