In this world of impersonal conversations, where we don’t interact face to face as much as we used to, how are our conversations going to happen when we do meet? I have been associated with SMART Conversations ® for 7 years and have seen how it improves the conversation, no matter who is involved – co-worker, spouse, friend, child.

The approach of self-awareness to having an engaged conversation helps improve the outcome tremendously. What I have found to be extremely helpful, if not a must, is starting the conversation by connecting with each other. Find out more about the person and the connections you may have in common. For example, who do you both know? What are your interest, background or experiences? Once you find a connection, no matter how small, then take the next step to enter into a conversation.

I have utilized this principle when working with people I have met for the first time at a networking event, a trade show/conference, or a first-time meeting with a prospective client. By connecting first, you can find that emotional connection, which will give you a way to differentiate yourself.

Think about a time where you met someone for the first time and the conversation revealed that you were both from the same city when you were kids. Did you not have an emotional connection with that person that brought back memories? Didn’t it also feel that this newly formed acquaintance was a little more special than others where there was no connection involved. Finding commonalities positions you and the ensuing conversation for a successful outcome whether it be a chance to do business with the other party, help with a referral, or start a new friendship.

In my experience in the business world. I have participated in meetings where everyone jumps right into the agenda because you have a lot to cover and there is no time to check in with the person(s) in attendance. Take time to find out what others are all about, what they are working on, who they are working with and where their head is before you get to the meat of your meeting. This will go a long way in having an engaging conversation that may lead to better and faster results.

Connecting precedes content is just one of the powerful principles of SMART Conversations ®, which is built on the work of Stephen Covey, Peter Senge, Danial Goleman and other thought leaders. Take a few minutes to step back to evaluate whether you and your organization are holding engaging, meaningful and productive conversations. It might make the difference between being an organization that is a candidate for “The Best Places to Work” award or the place where everyone is just showing up and dealing with day-to-day issues.

If you would like to learn how to get to the next level in your business, contact me at 904.472.3706, or email me at