Shiftability™ and Creating Connection

05/05/2017Shiftability™ and Creating Connection

By Hendre Coetzee
Executive Coach and Author of Shiftability: Creating a Sustainable Competitive Advantage in Selling

Shiftability™ is the art of being flexible in how you engage in order to establish connection

Ever notice that there are some people that you connect with instantly and with others it requires more time and effort? Creating connection is about engaging mutuality and is a process of creating subtle agreements on paradigms and points of reference. 

When we first are introduced to people and we are doing “Small Talk” we are looking for a memory connection.  We look for points of mutual interest such as football, a TV show or perhaps a school or university. This memory connection explores the possibility that we have a shared experience.

When we share a collective memory it leads to affinity trust. Affinity trust implies that we have made a number of memory connections, it says that we have points of view that are congruent and that our minds have collided into a basic yes.



We are more likely to create connection when we are curious. Curiosity is different from being investigative. Being investigative is a way of engaging where we have an existing and certain (in our mind) belief and we are looking for more evidence to prove that what we have thought all along, is so. Curiosity on the other hand allows you to discover the other person’s paradigm, point of view and the way they experience their context.  

Of course, key in the process of curiosity is ensuring that what we are hearing is actually what the other is saying. Being present while you are being curious will elevate your connection exponentially. 

People can’t hear what you are saying while they are busy listening to what they are thinking.

While curiosity ensures that the other’s point of view and context is discovered, acknowledgement recognizes the crucial role they play in their context. Not only are you establishing mutuality but you are affirming the person. People feel recognized and perhaps even valued as part of the conversation. Acknowledgement personalizes the process and communicates to the other that they are integral to the process. 

Acknowledgement is an emotional anchor and will build the emotional equity that we are looking for to grow our relationships. This relational equity will grow to even greater strength if I share of myself. Vulnerability leads to amazing connection. Vulnerability does not equal weakness. In fact, vulnerability is an invitation to mutual sharing and is the accelerator of connection.

A good introduction always includes “telling on yourself”. Sharing from your weakness in order to give the people in the room permission to be honest and truthful about their own state. 

Shiftability™ is my willingness and aptitude to adapt my way of relating to the other person in order to connect in a way that allows for the greatest possibility of success.