I got an email from a woman who said the message from last week’s ezine hit her inbox at just the right time because she was going through some of the same issues I addressed in the article. I get similar emails each week, which is beyond gratifying because it’s reason I started sending them in the first place! But, it really got me thinking about common grounds. Finding common ground with people is the impetus for creating valuable relationships. Our commonalities are what make us accessible and relatable. The common ground is the equalizer. It tethers a connection with a person or people for the moment, the meeting, the present, or perhaps the future.
“The longer we listen to one another - with real attention - the more commonality we will find in all our lives. That is, if we are careful to exchange with one another life stories and not simply opinions.” ~ Barbara Deming, Writer/Director
Here are some ways to stand on common ground with people and to embrace commonalities as a part of your career growth:
- Listen! – it seems a simple notion, but strive to become a student of life, that being of those lives that surround you. Listen and learn about them then integrate the commonalities into your conversations.
- Pay attention – “good material” is all around us, all day every day. Sharing experiences, news stories, and interesting tidbits can open the door to commonalities you might not have been aware of. Pretty much explains the crazy success of Twitter.
- Open up – start a meeting or conversation with “common ground breakers.” Ask open-ended questions that have to do with what you’re dealing with at the time. It levels the playing field, equalizes the players in the room. And, as it invites others to participate, commonalities will emerge.
- Engage – recognize that you’re never alone in the way you feel. This was the bottom line ‘aha’ for me this week. So many other people deal with the same frustrating, expansive, weird, funny, and profound issues that you do. Reveal just a little about one of these to those you want to engage and you’ll be amazed at the common denominators that will connect you.
Common ground. It sounds like a great place to be, live and work. It would also make a great name for a coffee house. Probably is one!