As much as it feels like that when we are writing, we are not at the center of the universe.
There’re people out there, our potential audience, our prospective readers, the people who will consume our content one way or another. We shouldn’t have to connect with everyone, but we should at least click with some.
In a recent post I opened up about my everyday goal of being approachable. This means, I present myself and behave in a way that encourages others to get closer and interact with me without feeling intimidated.
But if once they approach me, and the conversation gets going, if what I’m saying has nothing to do with their reality, experience, inclinations and aspirations, if the way I say it implies superiority, arrogance, aloofness, prejudice or ignorance…they are going to shut off, walk away and never look back.
Here are 3 ways to shape your relate-ability:
Know your story to share your story
If you are not aware of your journey, the things you’ve accomplished, the lessons you’ve learned, if you are not connected to your life story, how can you share it with others? What we have gone through shape us. Our story is valuable, first and foremost to ourselves.
Find common ground
Once we are familiar and find comfort in our journey, we must find a way to connect that journey with the someone else’s bigger picture. Which elements of our life are similar or could help ease someone else into finding solutions and possibilities for situations they’ve faced or are currently facing? It might be a geographical location, a cultural background, our industry or field, a shared passion.
It’s not all about you
We need to exercise our empathy. Maybe our journey is completely different from the person or group we are trying to connect with. Maybe we find no connective bridges, no common ground, at the surface, but at their core, all life stories are built on struggles, big and small, we can certainly relate to that. Once we take the first step toward understanding where someone is coming from, more often than not, the other person will meet us halfway.
Confess: Has there been a person you admired that suddenly became unrelatable when you heard them speak?