The Rule of Two – How to Connect with People


The Rule of Two – How to Connect With People


A few months ago I wrote a blog titled, Stop One-Upping If You Want to Connect with Others  I had a lot of comments on the blog from people who recognize that they do this and others who talked about how annoying it is when people do it to them. We all know what it feels like when someone makes the conversation about them or shares a bigger and better story than what was just shared. It causes us to shrink back, disengage and feel defensive.

Last week I was speaking for Anthem Insurance in California and at one of the breaks a salesman named Joe asked if he could share an insight with me. Earlier that day I shared an idea that I teach to focus on being interested, not interesting and he said it reminded him of a rule he made for himself years ago called The Rule of Two.

Joe told me how he was called out early in his career for one-upping other people. It was affecting how he connected (or didn’t connect) with others and it was undermining the influence he was trying to build. Joe decided to fix it and so he developed The Rule of Two. When someone says something about themselves – you should ask at least two questions before you say anything about yourself in an attempt to relate.

As an example:  Your good friend says they like boating – they just bought an expensive boat and they go every weekend to the lake.  You may be thinking… “What a bragger, oh really well I…” and then you stop yourself and remember The Rule of Two.  You respond:  “I bet your family really enjoys that, how did you decide on the right boat for the family?  And what was your favorite family moment at the lake this year?”

Wow how that changed everything!  You felt great about being truly interested in your friend.  Your friend stopped his normal chatter and thought a minute about what was truly important about the boat and shared with you a personal moment with his family and experience.  You made a connection that will not be forgotten, that could have be missed without using The Rule of Two.  You can clearly see what I mean and the ability you have to make a change and a connection with someone.

Now think about doing that in business.  Would you build stronger, long-lasting relationships by actually listening and responding from a place of interest?  The next time you are dealing with the annoying experience of one-upping, give Joe’s idea a try.  Use the principle of The Rule of Two!

As always I would love to hear your feedback and stories around The Rule of Two and others would too.  Leave your comments here.


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