The importance of face-to-face communication is becoming more prominent in today’s world as a large part of business communication is facilitated by technological advancements. The book ‘The Art of Connection – 7 Relationship-Building Skills Every Leaders Needs Now’ describes why many business leaders base their success on face-to-face communication. The book is completely dedicated to making its readers master the art of communication and build enduring relationships and achieve success in personal and professional lives.
The much-acclaimed book ‘The Art of Connection’ is written by leadership expert Michael J. Gelb. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on the application of genius thinking to personal and organizational development. A pioneer in various fields like creative thinking accelerated learning and innovative leadership, Gelb is a widely-read author of 15 books. ‘The Art of Connection’ is one of his latest books which reached the stands in September 2017.
The core of the book can be summarized in one sentence – ‘The art of connection is the key to success for soldiers and social workers, and for you… it’s also the secret of personal happiness, health, and longevity.’ According to Gelb, the leaders of successful companies focus on seven personal relationship-building skills. By equipping these skills, one can easily connect with other people and with oneself and build better relationship skills.
The seven skills explained in the book for constructing enduring relationship are:
1. Embrace humility
The first take away from the book goes like this – ‘Look for opportunities to perform acts of international, deliberate connection and kindness in daily life.’ The world is becoming more interconnected and leaders deal with a diverse workforce these days. To build an inclusive culture, leaders should be humble, alert and aware. They need to promote a culture of conversation than an argument. Also, leaders need to acknowledge that they have flaws so that employees do not fear to make mistakes. He writes, “Our brains have evolved special cells known as ‘mirror neurons’ that attune us to others, so we can feel what they feel, instantly, reflexively and effortlessly.’
2.“Be a glow worm”: Set a shining example
According to computational social science, people’s feelings powerfully influence those around them. Hence it is important to examine the people you associate with and spend time with and assess whether you need to make any changes. Gelb writes, ‘Even if it isn’t always possible to end your association with those who are far from ideal role models, you can nevertheless choose to respond consciously and proactive.’
3. Achieve the Three Liberations
Seeing life objectively is another critical skill that helps you achieve liberation and accept responsibility without blaming yourself. There are three ways to achieve liberation, according to J.G.Bennette, founder of the International Academy for Continuous Education. The first is to rise above the sense of liking or disliking someone which is possible when one learns to distinguish between ‘observation’ and ‘evaluation’. The second one is to become less sensitive and avoid judgemental language. The third point is to adopt a positive attitude and overcome the tendency to criticize.
4. “Transcend Fixation:” Learn from your typology
Typological assessments in an organization provide useful insights into your thinking and how you relate to others. The following tips are discussed in the book will help you get the most out of the typological assessment.
- Give up the notion that one type is better than any other
- Understand types, but avoid stereotyping
- Use the insights you gain to deepen your compassion and ability to connect with others
- Use insights you gain to deepen your compassion and ability to connect with yourself
- Take advantage of multiple assessments
- Understand the most important distinction
5. Balance Energy Exchange
‘What’s the single greatest problem in communication? The illusion that it has taken place successfully!’ – This is one of the profound quotes from the book. One needs to evaluate how good they are at communication.
In ‘The Art of Connection,’ the author also says about evaluating those people whom you want to help. There are givers, takers, and matchers. You need to consciously draw energizing people into your life. According to the author, most fruitful relationships are those in which everyone involved seeks to help all the others in original, imaginative ways.
6. Be a rare listeners
The next skill required in relationship building is to increase your listening skills by practicing with another person. You need to evaluate your capability when it comes to listening, increase your capacity to build bonds and whether you need to become more empathetic with others.
7. Turn friction into momentum
Dealing with conflict is a core part of building relationships. According to the author, your view of conflict determines how you handle it. Conflict should not be considered as a battleground where one wins or loses. It should be examined as a way of developing as a person and discover innovative ways to satisfy what other people want.
Learn the power of connection
‘The Art of Connection’ essentially teaches you how to cultivate the art and practice of connection. It is a skill that will enhance your personal and professional life. By developing insight into yourself, you can establish closer connections with other people. Humility is a must-have trait when you want to create rapport with others. In a healthy relationship, you become less judgemental and more accountable. By mastering the relationship-building skills, you will able to create enduring relationships at work and personal life. The power of connection is not just a tool for business success or organizational development but also broadens our humanitarian qualities.
The book is well-structured with memorable stories, scientific research reports, and practical examples. It is loaded with tips and techniques to communicate compassionately and genuinely and thus create meaningful relationships. It is an enjoyable and informative read for anyone who wants to improve their communication skills and achieve peak performance.