How to Connect with Anyone

Scott Dinsmore is a very cool guy. If you don’t know his website,, you should. The other day I received an email from Scott about how to connect with anyone. If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that I am a big believer in the power of relationships. I think that relationships are so important to your life and career success that I devote 20 tweets in my career advice book Success Tweets to them.

Scott’s thoughts on how to connect with people are priceless. They are the basis of his new course “How to Connect with Anyone.” You can get all of the information about this course here.

The 31 Habits of People Who Connect with Anyone – Scott Dinsmore

1. Make friends. This is the foundation. Making genuine connections is nothing more than making friends. When you’re about to approach someone, ask “how would I treat this person if they were my close friend or someone I’d want to be a close friend?” You don’t have hidden agendas and constantly push products and talk about yourself with your friends. You put friends first. You listen to them. You hear their problems so you can help in any way you can. Act accordingly.

2. Smile. This is by far the fastest way in the world to create a connection. It’s also a powerful show of confidence, which people respect and are drawn to. Smiles are contagious and the simple act makes people feel better. Whether it’s a close friend, a bus driver, someone you’re dying to meet or you’re just walking down the street or into a room of strangers, there is no stronger opener.

3. Be genuine. If you’re not connecting with people because you care about having them a part of your life, then stop. If you’re connecting just because you want to get yourself further up the ladder, then you’ve come to the wrong place. There is only one type of connection – one you genuinely care about. Find someone you actually do care to meet and get to know. Anything else is a waste of time.

4. Contribute. Meeting people is about making their lives better. Whether that’s by giving them a smile, a new job or anything in between – there is a way to help everyone. See everyone as a chance to help. Give like crazy, embrace generosity and make others more successful.

5. Know what matters to them – do your research. The more specific you can help someone the better. This comes from learning all you can about the people you want to meet. Not to manipulate, but so you can actually do something meaningful for them. Read their blogs and books, take their courses, sign up for their newsletters, learn about their interests, family, passions and charity work. Anything is game. With today’s online tools, there is no excuse not to learn about someone before trying to interact with them.

6. Start immediately & connect long before you want something. Don’t wait for the right time, more credentials or some arbitrary milestone. Those are excuses for inaction. Connecting is similar to planting trees – the best time to start was 20 years ago, but the second best is right now. No one wants to connect with someone who’s just out to get something. You will no doubt ask for help in all kinds of ways from the people you know, but that is far from the first step. Start as early as possible and connect because you want to, not because you need something. There’s really no other way to be genuine.

7. Make people a priority. There is no more important task for anyone than surrounding yourself with the right people. It’s all of our job and a part of every day. It’s not something we do for an hour every week or two. It’s a way of being. A way of life.

8. Be open to conversation. Embrace conversation with those around you. Everyone is a chance to learn something. Your server, the guy next to you on a park bench or plane flight. Even if you came to read a book, realize the best part of your day might be learning about the world of the person next to you.

9. Be well-groomed. I hate to have to mention this but if you smell like you haven’t showered for three weeks, look like you just spent the past four days strung out in Vegas, or have the breath of a dead cat, people are not going to want to talk to you. It’s not about wearing expensive clothes and watches, but it is about being presentable and physically enjoyable to be around.

10. Embrace persistence. Be comfortable with not getting responses. Most connections take a while and can’t be rushed. And while you’re at it, get used to “No” too. People are busy. Especially the well-known high-up folks. Just because you don’t hear back or get a no at first, does not mean it’s over. Most people send one email or make one phone call and think they’ve done their job. Not even close – that’s just the very beginning. If you have a way to uniquely help them, then it’s your job to get in touch. They will thank you for it. Don’t be a stalker. Don’t be the annoying nag. Friendly genuine persistence is a power few use.

11. Make days & provide memorable experiences. Get in the habit of making peoples’ days better. This could be as simple as a smile, compliment or heartfelt thank you. Provide fun/unique/enjoyable experiences that make life at least a little better.

12. Know who you are & who you want in your life. Know your passions, goals, talents, interests and the impact you want to have on the world. These will serve as your guiding light for how you can help and who you actually want to write into your story. Act with intention.

13. Be uniquely YOU. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Don’t try to look and sound like someone else and don’t hold back! Be vulnerable and open. Share your real story and goals. Tell others about your wife, kids and parenting struggles. Talking about the weather does not build connection. Being real does.

14. Create trust. Every interaction is a chance to either build trust or erode it. Do what you say. Show up on time. Share who you are. Slowly open up your real world to others and they’ll do the same for you.

15. Keep track of everything. After every meeting or interaction, write down what stood out, what you learned about them, their goals, their interests, family, birthdays. Anything goes.

16. Pay attention. The easiest way to be interesting is to be interested. Find excitement in what you can learn from others. Hear what they say. Listen and learn about what matters to them. Not so you can say something back as soon as possible, but so you can get a window into their world. People want to tell their story. Be the person excited to hear it.

17. Follow up and keep up. Keeping track makes this all the easier. A phone call, lunch, email or casual introduction to someone helpful. Any will do. Follow up with unique value, keep them front of mind and keep yourself in the front of theirs.

18. See opportunity in others. Every new person is a chance to connect and help, and has the possibility of being the person you’ve been dying to meet. You won’t know unless you say hi.

19. Believe in people. Know that most people are inherently good and want to help as much as they want to be helped. They want to make the meaningful connections as badly as you do. They want to hear your story and they want to tell you theirs.

20. Find common ground. Everyone has something in common – see it as a fun challenge to find what it is. The faster you can find shared ideas, beliefs and interests, the quicker you can relate.

21. Remember names. Nothing feels better than hearing your own name, especially from someone you just met. And “I’m not good with names,” does not fly. No one is good with names unless they practice! This alone puts you on a whole new level.

22. Be the connector. Bring groups together. Host events. Introduce friends who have similar interests. Make it your job to bring the right people together. There is no more powerful service you can provide.

23. Be the mentor as well as the mentee. There will always be people above and below. Be the mentor for a few people not quite at your level and find mentors to keep brining you up. Embrace both roles. You can’t have one without the other. Do your part.

24. Show your passion. You must be interesting. The best way to do this (aside from listening like crazy) is by embracing your passions, working towards an idea or cause and having a set of beliefs you’re deeply excited about that you openly share with others. No one likes talking to lemmings. Live and connect with passion. This is the surest way to be someone worth talking to – and everyone is capable of it.

25. Lead an interesting life. Live a life worth hearing about – most importantly for you, but for those around you as well. Do things you don’t normally do. Just being in new surroundings will cause you to interact with a new group of people without even trying. The more things you do and try, the more things you’ll have to talk about and the more fun you’ll have!

26. Tell stories. People connect on energy and emotion, not facts and stats. Communicate with stories as often as possible and encourage others to tell theirs. Know the fun stories of your life and share them with others.

27. See friends not strangers. When you walk into a room, see the new faces not as strangers but as friends you have yet to meet. You see the world in a more similar way to others than you probably realize – especially if you’re at the same event or a part of the same communities. Approach accordingly.

28. Care about people. None of the above matters if you don’t actually care about the people around you. If you don’t care about the person being a part of your life, you likely won’t do any of this stuff. If we’re going to connect in a powerful way, we must reframe the way we look at people. Enough said.

29. Show up (ideally in the physical world). Connections don’t happen in your house or office. You must get out there, say hello and reach out. This can start with emails and online connecting but this is only the very beginning. Nothing makes a more powerful impact than meeting in the flesh. Don’t hide behind technology. Get out of your office and from behind the computer, work from a coffee shop instead of your living room and be in the places where other passionate people hang out.

30. Create coincidence. The craziest things tend to align when you start to reach out, offer help and share your stories and passions. The examples of ‘random chance’ you’ll here throughout our How to Connect with Anyone course will blow your mind. This is how I met Simon Sinek, Tim Ferriss, Keith Ferrazzi, Peter Thiel, Gary Vaynerchuk and plenty more. The more time you spend around others, the more it happens. Be in the right places and let chance play its part.

31. Be unforgettable. When you embody these habits, standing out becomes a given. Your existence becomes memorable.

I love these 31 tips. They’re dynamite common sense career advice. Put them to use in your life. Better yet, sign up for Scott’s How to Connect with Anyone.

What do you think about Scott’s ideas? Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment. As always, thanks for taking the time to read my daily musings on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you. If you want to learn more about how to climb the corporate ladder faster check out the free rebroadcast of a webinar I did recently. You can find it at




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  1. Great post-love the idea of proactively sharing what is great about you with the people around you, while also supporting others to do the same. Very motivating.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Jo. Glad we’re in agreement.

    – Bud

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