This is how to engage with others and build connecting relationships

A handshake between two hands with various words on the hands and arms like cooperate and connect

The Collaboration Effect is all about finding ways to collaborate with others for better outcomes. A key element for collaboration with others is parties engaging with each other. Leaders know this and foster collaboration. The Collaboration Effect is all about connecting relationships, listening actively, and educating judiciously to build bridges and negotiate closure This article takes a deeper dive into reaching out to others, engaging with others, and finding ways to really connect based on their needs.


Would you like to be more productive, more profitable, and have more pleasure? Would you like to have less conflict with others and minimize disputes? When participants are engaged, they enjoy being part of the process. This enhances business results, employee satisfaction, and customer satisfaction. With Covid-19, children taking classes at home online instead of at school, and other stressors, anxiety and frustrations, attention to engagement and collaboration is more important than ever. To reduce both the mental and physical toil on yourself and others, taking the time to engage more with others is extremely important. Yet this may very well be one of the things we are tending to less of when stressed. At the end of this write up I will be sharing a link to an article that will offer you 65 inspiring engaging ideas, but I wanted to share this soundbite with you from that article now.

The organizations which have sent a care package to the employees at their homes during the pandemic have witnessed 16% to 17% growth in productivity.

What does that say to you on a personal level and engaging with others? If you give employees a chance to have fun, address issues technically yes, but have fun too, then this can take the edge off and allow employees to think more broadly and be more productive. By being able to emotionally connect with others, can build bonds that will provide a real incentive going forward. In short this all about connecting relationships.

Connecting relationships

In The Collaboration Effect book the first element is connecting relationships. Think about this before you even attempt to contact the other person. What can you learn about the other party ahead of time? Who can you connect with and where can you gain insight? Let us start by looking at someone you do not know or know little about.

Internet search

Start with the internet and simply do a search on the person by name and something you know about the person like location, occupation, employer, or whatever you may know. Consider sources like LinkedIn, Facebook, Pipl People Search, Google, True People Search and many more. Consider doing a background check. The point is before actually contacting anyone do some preliminary research online and look for areas of common interests, backgrounds, history, and interests.

Your network

Next reach out to your network at work, associates, friends, and others. Who might you know that may know something about the person you are trying to reach out to? You want to outreach to others that can and will help you with your research. Think outside the box as you bring together your previous online search information and you reach out to your connections.

Explore diversity

Bring both sources together and note what you know from first level observations such as age, race, ethnicity, gender, physical abilities, sexual orientation, and class. Then dig a little deeper and explore potentially religious beliefs, nationality, geographic location, marital status, parental status, education, income, work background, and military experience. Finally, you may uncover other clues with respect to personality, learning style, professional orientation, and other things. All of these elements provide you information before you pick up the phone, initiate a zoom meeting, or set up a face to face get together.

First contact

With your first make contact think about what you want to say ahead of time. Consider your defining statement. Who are you? What do you do? As background… As a result of my collaborative approach… On a personal note… These are some thoughts to give the other person an idea of who you are and why you are contacting them. Before you make the contact address these items form The Asking Formula Book by John Baker. These are:

1. What do you want?

2. Ask for it.

3. Have three reasons why this is beneficial for them.

Do not come out with these items but know what you have as a goal with this conversation. By completing this exercise, you are exploring your own emotions and interests with making the contact. You can also explore your own emotional intelligence calming yourself to be able to adapt to the emotions of the party you are contacting. Listen to them. Reflect their tone and emotions appropriately. When you do contact the other party be very conscious of their words, tone, and if visible the body language and facial expressions. Be sensitive to them and their concerns. Consider how you can emotionally connect with the other person with where they are coming from at that time. Whether in person or not smile. By consciously smiling your tone will reflect this as well.

Emotional connections

  • Consider an initial emotional connection statement or question. For example, consider some phrases or questions like these to bond with the other party.
  • What have you been thinking about lately? This is wide open and if you really concentrate on listening actively can build or build on a trusting relationship.
  • What is most important to you that we talk about today? This might be most important for setting the agenda of what they might want to talk about instead of what you might want to share.
  • What has been going on with you? This is an example of a question before addressing a business issue.
  • I am happy we can share time together today. This is a genuine way to engage the other party and let them know that you truly are happy to be with them.

A short example

After delivering a presentation like this to a large group of accountants, I received a call from one of the participants. He told me how he contacted the IRS previously and could not obtain good technical assistance. The next time he finally got through he reflected the tone of the IRS call center employee and empathized with him. That IRS employee went out of his way with three transfers to finally reach the right person. Being calm, considerate, and empathetic simply reflecting the tone of the other person allowed this accountant to have a successful call with the other party. Keep this in mind with your next encounter with others. Look for ways to help them emotionally too.

This commentary is an introduction to connecting relationships from The Collaboration Effectt. Continue to enhance your skills so that you can engage with others more effectively and build connecting relationships. Here is a link to that article I mentioned at the beginning on 65 Inspirational and Practical Employee Engagement Ideas for 2021. Surely some of these ideas can help you too.

About the author

Mike Gregory is a professional speaker, an author, and a mediator. You may contact Mike directly at and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 12 books (and co-authored two others) including his latest book, The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts, and The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]