You walk into a room filled with potential new business clients.

There is something about you. It’s the way you exude warmth, genuineness and empathy, the top three qualities of connection. There is a myth that when we first meet people we need to be clever and witty. The truth is it’s your positive energy and friendliness that connect people to you.

Here are secrets to enhancing those business connections:

1 Respond to “What do you do?” With Passion And Purpose

An enthusiastic woman approaches you and says, “Hi! I’m Linda. What do you do?” Usually people answer that question by giving their job title, “I’m a designer.” That kind of response doesn’t invite a meaningful connection. You share your business and interests with passion and purpose. “I own a design company called Patterns. I love to brighten homes with colors and textures. I also enjoy playing tennis.” By sharing the meaning in your business you create meaningful connections and inspire people to believe in your company. Sharing your interests inspires balance and you connect on more topics. After an engaging conversation with Linda she asks for your card. You work the room knowing you’ll remember her name.

2. Remember Names With This Secret Trick

When you first learn someone’s name think of someone you know, or someone well known, with the same name. Picture that familiar face next to this new face. With Linda, you pictured her face next to your cousin Linda’s face. This easy visualization locks names in your mind.

3. Make People Who Give Advice Feel Helpful

You join a small group of people sitting at a table. A woman asks you to exchange cards. She looks at yours and says, “You should make your company logo purple and pink.” We all encounter people who give us advice that we didn’t ask for or agree with. If we respond by explaining why their suggestion won’t work we disconnect and create tension. People give advice to feel helpful. You make her feel helpful through your appreciation and diplomacy. “Thanks for your interesting idea. I’ll give that some thought.” She smiles, points to the man on her left and says, “You should meet Jim!”

4. Help People Who Brag Feel Successful

He says, “I used to run a company like yours. Under my leadership we broke sales records.” When people brag we often feel the need to compete or “top them” which creates disconnection. People brag to feel successful. You celebrate everyone’s success and instantly create a warm connection, “That’s exciting. I’m impressed!”

5. Ask Questions With People Who Criticize

Another man in the group says, “I hate designers.” When people criticize we tend to label them negative. Once we understand where their “negativity” comes from we connect through questions and empathy. First you ask, “What happened?” Your interest validates him and he explains more. “I just hired a designer who ignored my style and ruined my den.” Next you empathize, “That’s frustrating! And you obviously have wonderful style. I’d like to make your den reflect you.” When people who criticize feel understood, and appreciated, they become receptive and supportive. Before you move on from the group he asks for your card.

6. Turn Gossip Into Respect

You move on to another group standing near the table. A woman says, “I heard he had his nose done twice.” People gossip to feel important. Even when others chuckle or seem interested they end up thinking, “What will they say about me?” Gossip creates mistrust. You create trust, help her feel important and change the direction of the conversation. “He has a great smile. I just love your eye-catching pin. It’s so unique. Does it have a special meaning?” As you role model kindness and integrity everyone feels connected.

When the event is over you smile knowing there are always people who are easy to connect with and there are always people who are little more challenging. But deep down inside we are all alike. We all want to feel valued. You find the gifts in everyone and leave with inspired new clients.


businessJill Spiegel, author of the hit seminar and new book “How To Talk To Anyone About Anything! The Secrets to Connecting” is an award-winning speaker and entrepreneur featured on Oprah, Today in People and more. Visit