Everyone Communicates Few Connect

Another GREAT leadership book from the great communicator – John Maxwell

Part 1 - Connecting Principles

Chapter 1 – Connecting increases your influence in every situation


  • What is your overall impression of chapter 1 – what sticks out?

Inspiration on why it is important to connect

Connecting = increased influence

  • Everything rises and falls on leadership
  • What do you think about the discussion regarding the presidents’ ability to connect?

Leading a country – huge job – interesting how important connecting is.

  • Connecting as it relates to student/teacher, child/parent
  • Maxwell wasn’t a natural connector 

Loved his story about connecting with his wife-to-be’s mom

  • how did he change?

Choices when frustrated from failure: crash, cope, change, but with coping you don’t move forward

  • Stories of the businessmen connecting – the grid of Hich Achiever – Average Achiever – Low Achiever (pg 17)

4 principles 

  1. Focus on others
  2. Expand connection beyond just words
  3. marshall your energy to connect
  4. Learn from great connectors

5 Skills

  1. Find common ground
  2. Making your communication simple
  3. Capture people’s interest
  4. Inspire
  5. Be authentic


  • Connecting 1-1

80-90 percent of ALL connecting occurs at this level

In your “herd” who can you connect with?

Prepare questions ahead of time

Bring something of value – could be YouTube link, other links, books, etc.

Ask if you can help

  • Connecting in a group

Intentional compliments

Add value to the group – what is the group going through?

Celebrate success

  • Connect with an audience

Chapter 2 – Connecting is all about others


  • What is your overall impression of chapter 1 – what sticks out?

Taking your eyes off yourself


Tour guides that just want to be the center – pour out facts.

Speakers and teachers who just want to ram the facts

Lots of Ego and self-centeredness

Have you ever been talking to someone, only to find you weren’t listening, but waiting to say your next thing? I have.

John’s lightbulb moment (Zig Ziglar)

Principle 4 – learn from great communicators

Told stories, laugh, cry

PRINCIPLE: first help someone get what they want, they will help you get what you want

John was correcting others instead of connecting

Connecting is always about the other person

Definition of Maturity – see and act on behalf of others (pg 30)

The 20 points of Property Law by a Toddler – LOVED IT (pg 30)

Dump the ego

Speakers, worry less about your performance and more about whether or not you are connecting

What is the name of the cleaning lady?

Value everyone

Story of Gloria Jeans – in the people business serving coffee

3 questions – communicate selflessness

  • Do you care for me?

Interesting story – the Shamu whale trainer – must be all about Shamu

  • Can you help me?

Nobody wants to be sold, everyone wants to be helped. 

  • Can I trust you?

The car salesman example is illustrative – big time.

People take action for their agenda, which is why we need to get on that agenda.

What is the student’s agenda?

What is SOZO agenda?

How do we bring them together?

John’s story about going to the book publisher – preparing by asking “If I were the publisher, what would I want?”

Figure out THEIR agenda


  • Connecting 1-1

Make them feel valued. How?

Be a good listener

Ask questions

Share your own values

  • Connecting in a group

Invite participation

Understand the strength of each individual

Acknowledge that value

Allow others to lead certain areas

  • Connect with an audience

Chapter 3 – Connecting goes beyond words


  • What is your overall impression of chapter 1 – what sticks out?

Relatable examples of connecting VS not-connecting (singers, teachers, managers)


Your actions speak so loudly, I can’t hear what you say – great quote

QUESTION: how is face to face communication broken down?

  • words – 7%
  • tone of voice – 38%
  • body language – 55%

Words are limited

QUESTION: what are the 3 elements we must include when communicating?

  • something we know – thought
  • something we feel – emotion
  • something we do – action

Your messages must contain a piece of you

Be more than a messenger – be the message

John’s examples of the books he wrote – they were his experiences

John’s connection checklist

  • did I do my best – integrity
  • did I please my sponsor – expectation
  • did I understand and relate to the audience – relevance
  • did I add value to the people – value
  • did I give people a game plan – application
  • did I make a difference – change

QUESTION: what are the 4 components of connection?

  • what people see
  • what people understand
  • what people feel
  • what people hear

Stats on where people get their news from

We live in a digital world – YouTube, FB, Twitter – that is what we are competing with

QUESTION: how much time do you have to make your first impression?

7 seconds…7seconds!

How to increase your visual effectiveness

  • Eliminate personal distractions – look sharp, talk clearly

Public speaking – you want a wake up call? – video yourself and watch it!

  • Expand your range of expression

Your face should be smiling at least!

Your expressions can communicate quite a bit.

  • Move with a sense of purpose

John’s story about not getting the job at the grocery store

  • Open posture

Amazing how folded arms can create a barrier to communication

Physical touch – handshake – pat on back

  • Pay attention to surroundings

If you are trying to connect with a student while they are on their phone or playing a video game…forget it

How to increase your intellectual effectiveness

Know your subject and yourself…WELL!

The Laughton Christmas story “I know the psalm, she knows the Shepherd.”

There is no substitute for personal experience.

Be comfortable in your own skin.

How to increase your emotional effectiveness

Winning HEARTS and minds

Statement (pg 64) from therapist:

“…the assumption that insight will work with people who are unmotivated to change.”

Whatever is inside of you will eventually come out – positive or negative. As a man thinketh…

People hear words but feel attitude

The remember how you made them feel

LOVED Ty Cobb’s response to the batting question “…because I’m 70.”


Be positive and believe in yourself

How to increase your verbal effectiveness

Now let’s talk about words…the last thing by the way

Listen to speakers, read, read, read, books, speeches, everything

Focus on positive words. Uplifting, even when you are addressing issues or problems.

Practice – be intentional – be aware of what you are saying

Best advice – learn how to be yourself

Learn through trial and error

It is ok to “borrow” from others – consume it and make it your own – put YOU into it


  • Connecting 1-1

Give your complete attention – visual

Ask questions – intellectual

Honor boundaries, but break the touch barrier – emotionally

  • Connecting in a group

Set the example visually to your group

Invest in people’s growth – intellectually

Honor the group’s effort – emotionally

  • Connect with an audience

Chapter 4 – Connecting always requires energy


  • What is your overall impression of chapter 4 – what sticks out?

How important it is to bring energy into the art of connecting – it is intentional.

I got a lot from the ideas of how to develop and cultivate the energy.

His story of preaching at his old church

All of the things he did to make it special:

  • Searched for reminders 
  • Worked to remember names
  • Spent special time with the OG
  • Gave people personalized gifts
  • Spent extra time with people
  • Sharing his mistakes

“…if you want people to be impressed, talk about your successes; if you want people to identify with you, it’s better to to talk about your failures…”

High energy doesn’t necessarily mean extrovert – it means to use what energy you have to focus on others and reach out.

Connecting requires:

  1. Initiative…go first
    • The wise does at once what the fool does at last
  2. Clarity…prepare
    • Know yourself – personal preparation, no one gives out of a vacuum
    • Know your audience – people preparation, ask 7 questions about the people you will be leading – Who, What do they care about, Where do they come from, When, Why are they hear, What can I give them, How do they want to feel 
    • Know your stuff – personal preparation, 
  3. Connecting requires patience…slow down
    • Interesting quote “The good news is that I move fast; the bad news is I often move alone“, we are often in such a hurry we don’t connect. Note, for some folks, moving slower than they want take effort.
  4. Connecting requires selflessness…give
    • Being a giver brings you life – like watering a plant.
    • Sometimes it can take more energy to be a taker – to not connect.
    • Others are renewed by someone with a giving spirit
    • Sometimes you lose present with less energy when you are giving the same talk over and over; develop the “first time” attitude – the Joe DiMaggio idea of “…there might be someone in the stands who has never seen me play…”
  5. Connecting requires stamina…recharge
    • Figure out what refills your energy and make it part of your routine. Joe Theismann sometimes wears both the winner ring and the loser ring from the two Super Bowls he played in to remind him to stay energized.


  • Connecting 1-1

Gear yourself up before meeting with people one on one – intentionally

  • Connecting in a group

Don’t allow yourself to become complacent. 

Tips to bring energy to the group: introduce yourself to each person, ask a question of each one to learn something about them, give the group ownership of the meeting, allow them to ask questions, draw hesitant members in by talking about what you learned about them, at the end ask how you can help them be more successful

  • Connect with an audience

People never expect to provide energy to the speaker, they are always expecting to receive energy. Confidence from preparation, passion from conviction, positivity from believing in people.

Chapter 5 – Connecting is more skill than natural talent


  • What is your overall impression of chapter 4 – what sticks out?

Reading about what John’s writer says about why John is a great communicator was insightful.

And the 4 things that bring you credibility – Insight, Success, Ability and Sacrifice.

The conference of speakers – connectors and non-connectors.

  • 2 non were politicians – somewhat surprising
  • One journalist – surprising
  • One business book author – also surprising

His story of the settlers and Indians

Very different perspectives.

Importance of borrowing credibility

  • Dr. Phil – borrowed from Oprah
  • Dr. Oz – Oprah as well

But, you still have to deliver

  • Insight – what you know
    • Ben Franklin was influential because he shared his wisdom
    • Point – generously share your area of expertise
  • Success – What you have done
    • People will want to listen to you if you succeed at something
  • Ability – what you can do
    • Jordan made more money from endorsements than he ever did from playing basketball
  • Sacrifice – How you have lived
    • Mother Teresa
    • FDNY
    • Civil Rights leaders

Charlie Wetzel’s comments about John

  • He possesses great confidence
  • He exhibits authenticity – he doesn’t “inhale the fame”
  • He prepares thoroughly – he never wings it – outlines talks – is a voracious reader which gives him a lot of material – always learning – carries around a number of laminated cards with speeches he could give without notice
  • He utilizes humor – fast mind – can get away with being corny – do not force funny
  • He focuses on others – it is a hallmark of his life – he plans how to do special things for others – looks for ways to add value to people – he practices intentional inclusion

All great speakers were bad speakers at one time

John’s first 55 minute sermon!


  • Connecting 1-1

To overcome public speaking, practice the needed skills with individuals.

  1. Have interest in the person
  2. Place value on the person
  3. Put their interests ahead of yours
  4. Express your gratitude to and for that person.
  • Connecting in a group

Take what you learned in the individual setting. Apply the 4 things above to the group.

  • Connect with an audience

Apply the 4 things to your audience.

Part 2 - Connecting Practices

Chapter 6 – Connectors connect on common ground


  • What is your overall impression of chapter 4 – what sticks out?

Common ground.

John’s first rule of communication – find common ground

Barriers to finding common ground

  • Assumptions – “What does ASS-u-ME mean?” Or the “I already know what people know, feel and want” syndrome.
  • Woman in the airport with the cookie story – she assumed he was eating her cookies.
  • Arrogance – I don’t need to know what others know, feel or want
  • Indifference – I don’t care to know what others know, feel or want
  • John’s story of want to connect to a Russian audience and his daughter sang to them in Russian – they appreciated that
  • Control – I don’t want others to know what I know, feel or want

Cultivate a common ground mindset

  • Be available – choose to spend time with others
  • Listen your way to common ground
  • Be interested enough to ask questions – Be curious (Walt Whitman – Ted Lasso)
  • FORM – Family, occupation, recreation and message
  • Be thoughtful – look for ways to thank people
  • Be open – let people into your life
  • Just care about people – be likable
  • Be humble – think of others more than yourself
  • Loved the story about John’s Flops, Failures and Fumbles speech
  • Be adaptable – to your team to help them succeed, to foreign people with their customs


  • Connecting 1-1
  • Connecting in a group
  • Connect with an audience

Chapter 7 – Connectors do the difficult work of keeping it simple


  • What is your overall impression of chapter 4 – what sticks out?

Common ground.

Chapter 8 – Connectors create an experience everyone enjoys


  • What is your overall impression of chapter 4 – what sticks out?

Common ground.

Chapter 9 – Connectors inspire people


  • What is your overall impression of chapter 4 – what sticks out?

Common ground.

Chapter 10 – Connectors live what they communicate


  • What is your overall impression of chapter 4 – what sticks out?

Common ground.