As an introvert, I find it difficult to meet someone and strike up a conversation. It could take me weeks or months to bond with other people through traditional conversation. There is nothing wrong with that in your personal life. Good things take time.
In a business or networking context, weeks or months can create challenges. A new customer or prospect may require swifter relationship building.
These are a few techniques to improve and speed up the process of bonding with other people.
The Significance of Insignificance
Remember something trivial about other people and let them know you remember this minor detail. Remembering something small about someone communicates you find them significant.
For example, let’s suppose we meet and I find out you’re a badminton fan. Two weeks later I see an article about a Badminton tournament that will be in your area. I send a message telling you about it. The simple fact that I remembered and took the time to go an extra step improves my standing with you.
If you use contact management software, keep track of these small tidbits in one of your notes fields. You can’t keep this stuff in your head.
Unexpected Shared Experiences
Unexpected shared experiences make a more lasting impression on our memory. I’ve gone out for dinner at my favorite restaurant dozens of times. One memory that sticks out is when we got a flat tire five-hundred feet from the restaurant. We limped into the parking lot, called for service and proceeded inside for dinner. The oddity of that experience gets remembered and creates bonding moments.
If you don’t have odd shared experiences like this, create them. A manufactured event can be nearly as effective.
Contagiation (Contagious + Association)
Do you always show up at a friends house on a day of bad news or even bad weather? Associating your self with items of negative connotation can contaminate your standing with other people.
It’s helpful to associate yourself with things that elicit feel good feelings. Beautiful weather, comedy, sporting events, the possibilities are endless.
It might sound like common sense to avoid associating yourself with negative news or events, but it’s not something we consciously consider.
It’s hard to be mad at someone who gives you ice cream (especially when they don’t ask for it). I’m not sure where that quote originated but it encapsulates the lesson with perfection.
Doing something nice for someone when it’s not expected creates excess goodwill. They’ll feel an urge to reciprocate.
This technique too sounds like common sense, but in the grind of daily life, we often fail to consider the power of a kind gesture.
The Unlikely Defender
Have you ever been in a conversation with a group of people and someone says something offensive? Stunned silence follows as everyone digests the offensive remark. It’s surprising at how often nobody challenges these remarks. Online, the challenges flow. In face to face group discussions, there is a tendency to ignore and move on.
Having the guts to defend the one attacked puts you in good standing with that person. They won’t forget your act of gallantry.
The Theory Of Relativity
The passage of time speeds relationship building. More frequent exposure and shared experiences in a short time frame give the illusion of more time passing.
Let’s suppose you meet someone at a bar. Next, pretend that you go to a bar, restaurant and comedy show on the same night. The multitude of activities gives us the illusion of a longer relationship than if we had just sat in a bar all night.
The Intensity Ending Effect
We tend to form memories of an event by remembering the intensity of it and how it ended. A strong ending and positive peak intensity lead to a more positive recall of the experience. Of course, the peak intensity should have a favorable resolution. In other words, your peak intensity shouldn’t end with someone crying in despair. It could be a feeling of victory, relief or overcoming adversity.