How many times have you connected with the person to whom you were listening? Perhaps it was a teacher who made a difficult subject interesting and fun. Maybe it was a conference speaker who provided the motivation you needed to keep going in a less-than-glamorous job. What was it that moved them from simply talking to connecting? It was their ability to understand the listener and care more for their listener than for themselves. John Maxwell, in his new book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, offers solid guidance and real-life tools to help leaders and other communicators move from simply talking to an audience to making real connections by making every word count. Maxwell defines connecting as “the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them”.
I am a fan of Maxwell and a past-reader of his work. As usual his simplistic yet insightful style of writing makes this book an easy read. He does a great job of mixing his content with real-life experiences which add to the credibility of his writing. Maxwell offers five connecting principles and five connecting practices. He helps the reader to understand why connecting with the listener is important. He then goes on to give the reader the nuts and bolts of how to better connect. The highlight of the book, in my opinion, is chapter six where Maxwell talks about how crucial it is to find common ground with the listener. On the other hand, the book does have a low point that I struggled with. In chapter five, Maxwell gives way to his writer, Charlie Wetzel, in order that he might tell how good of a communicator Maxwell is. To me, this section seemed out of place and unnecessary. I wish this portion had been left out.
I was challenged by this book. As a pastor, I speak to many people in many different settings. This book made me aware of the fact that speaking is not enough. As a communicator, I can’t assume that my words and messages are received by my listeners just because I share them. This book has led me to understand that I need to be more intentional in my speaking. Whether you are a communicator in the business sector, the educational field, or the pastoral ministry, I highly recommend this book to you as an aid to making every word count.