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4 Sure Fire Steps to Connecting With People

Updated on February 6, 2010

The 4 Steps of Making a Connection With People

Connecting with other people is the first step in building a relationship with them. Whether you meet people at a business networking meeting, the grocery store, or in your office; you have to connect with them to build a working relationship with them.

This lens contains insights into what it takes to really connect with another person. This is a companion to my Building Rapport lens. The thoughts and concepts in this lens were developed in cooperation with Jean Brun, Jim Carty, and Dave Weimar.

For additional insights, you can also check The DISC Model of Human Behavior.

Complete or Compete?

In every interaction with other people, we either COMPLETE them or we COMPETE with them.

The difference is the letter "L"

The 4INGs to Connecting with People

As we work and interact with other people in business and team settings, we work to develop rapport with them to improve our effectiveness. At the rapport stage, we work without doubts or questions about the other person's motives, and they do the same with regard to us.

The first step to building rapport is connecting. To truly connect with another person, we must engage in four separate activities.

Four Steps to Connecting

1. Listening

Listening communicates that we care and it gives us information to better understand the other person and their perspective.

2. Observing

Observing is the act of carefully considering the other person's spoken and unspoken messages.

3. Discerning

Discern the right words and actions to take based on the information we gathered in the first two steps.

4. Speaking

Speaking communicates our thoughts so that we show our understanding of the other person. It also gives the other person information they can use to understand us.

Each of the four INGs is important to build a connection with another person. Failure to apply any of the four INGs could lead to a disconnect.

Four Common Disconnects

1. Spectating

When we spectate rather than listen, we just watch what the other person is doing without actively engaging in the listening process. Spectating usually happens when we withdraw from another person.

2. Critiquing

When we critique rather than observe, we make quick judgments about the other person and their intentions without carefully considering their perspective.

3. Deciding

When we decide rather than discern, we make a quick decision about how to respond without considering all of the information available to us. This implies a "snap" decision rather than a considered decision.

4. Interrupting

When we interrupt rather than speak, we stop the other person before they are finished expressing themselves. We by-pass the opportunity to really understand the other person.

When we apply the 4 INGs instead of the four disconnects, we supply the "L" in complete.

The "L" in complete is:


This is not a "touchy-feely" type of love. It is not an overly emotional sort of love. It is the type of love that shows we really care what other people think and feel. The type of love that proves we see others as people to be understood and not as objects to be manipulated or moved to our will.


The attitude that we can learn from other's experiences and perspectives.


We're back to the first ING - listening. When we really listen to other people, we supply the "L."

Picture courtesy

The Most Important Thing To Remember About Connecting With Others

Work to compLete them rather than to compete with them.

Free DISC Personality Test

Try this Free DISC Profile to get insights to help you connect with others better.

What is your experience here? Does this make sense to you? What input can you give me to make this a better lens?

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