6Ways to Connect on a Deeper Level

1. POWER OFF ALL TECHNOLOGY. Show those you are with, they are important to you. Worried about an emergency call that may come thru? Don't worry, most cell phones now automatically power on or even ring when on silent if the number is calling repeatedly three times in a row. As your cell phone provider about this feature.

2. EYE CONTACT. The more eye contact you offer, the more rich the conversations will become. It encourages others to open up, feel as though you care, you are engaged.

3. REALLY "LISTEN" - People know when you are really listening versus offering the hallow/empty nods and generic replies. The moment others feel that, they will pull back! They will take quiet offense and become standoffish. It will become a one-sided table talk get together as others will shut down if they don't feel a mutual respect of engagement.   

4. GIVE AND TAKE - If you are going to share stories, sorrows, news, happiness, that is all good. BUT TAKE A BREATHER and let others share too! There is nothing worse than the table talk hog. How do you know if this is you? Ask yourself, the last time you were table side with friends, at the end of the evening can you honestly say you know what everyone is up to these days? Something new about them? Something interesting they shared? Be conscious of taking a pause and asking, so how are you? What are you doing these days? etc.

5. ASK INSPIRING OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS - Make it fun, make it hypothetical, make it an interesting discussion that will certainly draw opinions you would have never dreamt of. What would you do if you won the lottery?  What do you feel is more important - giving to Make a Wish Foundation or Cancer Research and why? What do you think about Public versus Private Schools - and the impact each would offer your child? Trump or Clinton, why? If you could be any animal, what would you be and why? An opportunity to be silly, free, open with independent thought.  

6. BE MEMORABLE. Either offer a thoughtful favor to your friends and family just because that they will find delightful and remember always; or follow up your get together with a thoughtful note, something memorable from the evening, and maybe an actual printed picture they can frame versus the perpetual image sent via text. Make it personal - with your actions, and heartfelt words.