Relationships are at the core of everything we do. Whether with family, friends, colleagues, clients or strangers, how we communicate, engage and connect with each other can have a profound impact on both our own and others' lives.
At Starling Arts, we constantly work with groups of all ages, backgrounds and experiences and value the importance of a strong and connected group. While we ultimately get groups singing, here are our five pointers to establishing and nurturing connections when leading or working with any group, from first impressions to lasting relationships.
- SMILE. Your smile is the most powerful way to instantly connect with a group or individual. It exudes trust, an open personality and warmth. If leading a group exercise, encourage everyone to smile at each other in a circle. It instantly relaxes and connects people across the room and sets them on the same page.
- ESTABLISH. Establish who you are, what you’re here to do and how/why. The majority of people like to know what they can expect from a session. Think of different and interesting ways you can introduce yourself and the group to one another; it establishes the community in a memorable and engaging way.
- RELATE. Relating to others is a huge part of life and knowing you’re not alone is comforting in any setting. While we can’t be expected to have everything in common with everyone, we can all find something to relate to. Find commonalities within a group early on (see this blog post for our ‘Commonalities’ exercise) so that everyone feels relaxed and connected to the group or activity.
- SHARE. Shared experiences are key to a valuable connection with anyone. As your time with a group progresses - whether during the course of a one-off session or over regular meet-ups - refer back to your shared experiences; jokes, exercises, memories, etc. It’s a comforting reminder of how you’re all connected and your community spirit.
- THANK. Always close your session with gratitude. It makes everyone feel valued and open to the idea of continuing a positive connection with you and everyone else in the session, be it repeated engagement/business, a recommendation, or lifelong friendship.
These points can be applied in the workplace, rehearsal or class room, and even on the bus or in a shop!
Do you have any top tips for connecting with others? Leave a comment below!