The Mathematics of Building Better Relationships
networking in practice

The Mathematics of Building Better Relationships

3 min read

Welcome back to Covve and Mo Bunnell's series on effective networking geared toward business growth. The second episode of the series focuses on understanding how to improve the chances of connecting with someone and how some simple methods of communicating with them enables a deeper connection. Mo's experience as an actuary came in clutch as he continues to apply three key concepts to increasing the statistical probability of finding commonality with a contact.

While it's natural for people to have unique perspectives and experiences, actively seeking commonality can foster understanding, empathy, and stronger relationships. One of the most effective ways of getting to know people better is to ask them questions tailored to their passions and beliefs. The more the questions are aligned with people's interests, the more likely you are to unearth how they feel, think, and interact with the world around them, enabling you to find commonalities.

Whether you are engaging in a heated debate, navigating a new workplace, or simply trying to connect with someone from a different background, there are several key ways to enhance your chances of finding common ground. Mo lays them out as "dead time" and "alive time", engaging questions, and following up with a simple phrase in mind, "tell me more".

Take advantage of dead time. Dead time could be when you are waiting for people to join a virtual meeting or a dinner. You can use that time to ask questions to contacts to get to know them better. For example, you could ask them small questions to discover their passions, beliefs, and interests. This turns "dead time" into "alive time". In this way, you are engaging with a contact, and deepening the connection.

Make the most of these questions by asking them about something that correlates with your contact's expertise, something personal, or their thoughts on light matters such as Mark Zuckerberg's potential upcoming brawl with Elon Musk. Mo highlights a study that accentuates the value of asking questions that beckon them to share their own perspective, or self-disclosing information (SDI), which can get people excited about a conversation.

Mo emphasizes that the true turning point of a connection, after diving into an engaging conversation, is to identify what excites them and ask follow-up questions on that matter. That is where the real spark ignites. Keep the phrase "tell me more" in mind to maintain an engaging conversation. An easy way to do this is to keep the famous "Summer Nights" song from the movie Grease in mind.

Ultimately, following these three principles will help you better understand what your contacts need, what they are passionate about, and what their priorities are.

Watch the full episode here for Mo's expert breakdown of the three principles. Follow the series with Covve and Mo Bunnell to elevate your networking habits. Make the process and journey easier for you with expert advice.