No matter the status of the person you’re trying to connect with, the approach is exactly the same. (And it turns out it’s a lot simpler than you’d think.)

There is no faster, more effective way to fill the gap between where you are and where you aspire to be than having the right passionate and supportive people in your corner. There is no bigger life hack.

Environment is everything. And it’s 100 percent in our control.

Over the past 10 or so years of studying social dynamics, human interaction and personal rapport (and being obsessed with making new friends), I’ve made some discoveries that have lead to near-instant memorable interactions with folks like Warren Buffett and Tony Robbins, all the way down to the interesting girl at the bar or the stranger on the street.

No matter the status of the person you’re trying to connect with, the approach is exactly the same. As it turns out, it’s a lot simpler than you’d think.

Often the biggest reason people fear reaching out and connecting is that they don’t have a clue what to say or think they’ll look like an idiot.

Let’s change that.

If you know what to do to create a quick positive human connection, you’re going to do it much more often. With knowledge comes confidence. With confidence comes connection.

So here’s how to make a genuine connection with anyone within minutes of meeting them:

1. Exchange passion

Connection starts long before the first interaction. Be the guy glowing with passion. Let the people around you feel your fire for the dent you want to put in the world. Prompt others to share what makes them come alive. Share in their excitement.

No one forgets a passionate, genuine supporter.

2. Be happy

Start with a smile. This is by far the fastest way in the world to create a bond. The right grin beams with confidence, creating immediate respect and interest. Smiles are contagious, and the simple change in physiology they cause makes people feel better.

There is no stronger opener than a smile. And, sadly, it’s still uncommon enough to make you stand out.

3. Say thank you

Find a reason to thank everyone you meet. Be sincere. Share genuine appreciation for their work, no matter how big or small. If the person on the other side explains something in an interesting way or has an exciting energy about them, recognize it. From the mailman to the bestselling author signing books at your local shop, make gratitude a habit.

If the person is well-known, there’s no excuse for not doing at least enough Googling to have a list of meaningful ways to thank and congratulate them, as well as common threads between your story and theirs. Common ground is the foundation of rapport. And a genuine compliment is a pretty easy place to start.

4. Tip with $2s

Anything even slightly different will do. Every few months, I pick up a couple hundred dollars in two-dollar bills from the bank. Perfect for tipping, paying people back and making change. It’s the fastest way I’ve found to create surprise and a smile.

Most people think two-dollar bills aren’t around anymore, so when they get one, they thank me like crazy, ask how I got it and talk about how they’re never going to spend it because it’s so lucky. Little do they know you can order them at every bank…

5. Obey the 3-second rule

This happens to be the most powerful pickup tool a guy or girl could have. If you see someone interesting or whom you’ve been dying to meet, give yourself three seconds to walk up and start a conversation. If you wait any longer, you’ll either over-think it and screw it up or over-think it and never say anything at all.

Stop worrying about what to say. Anything is better than nothing. Once you speak a word to someone, you’re immediately elevated out of the sea of thousands of onlookers to the few who actually sack up and say something. And that is the biggest first step.

Get in the habit of making people’s days.

These are all simple ways to have a positive impact on the people around you. There are a million others. If you’re not connecting to help, then stop trying. People will see right through you.

When thinking about approaching someone, just ask yourself, “What could I do to make this person’s day even slightly better?” Those whose days you make will go on to do the same for others. These ripples start to intersect, and that’s when the world starts to change.

And it can all start with something as simple as a smile.

So show up. Be helpful. The world will start to pay attention.

Scott Dinsmore is the founder of Live Your Legend and the creator of How to Connect with Anyone, an interactive online course that’s open for enrollment to the first 100 students until this Friday at 11:59pm PST.

92 Comments

  1. Alison Elissa Coaching

    Great reminders! I like the one about thanking someone for their work. Very sweet.

  2. Scott Britton

    Great post Scott! I especially love the 2 Dollar Bill advice.

    I was at a retreat this past weekend and unsurprisingly was being bombarded by the typical “so what do you do?” from all sides. I later met someone where the first question she asked me was “what do you love to do outside work?”

    Not only did I immediately gravitate towards her due to the contrast, but also started talking about my passions which immediately made the conversation 100% more intiment and memorable. I highly reccomend leading with this question in situations that seem appropriate. It worked on me!

  3. Timothy Daniel Roth

    I just love this article. I’m a fan of thank-you cards, and the 2 dollar bill think is right up my alley. I’m going to get some tomorrow.

  4. Debbi Dawn Brooks

    Great article for anyone!

  5. Theresa Fantone

    Going to use that three second rule! It makes sense!

  6. Jackie James

    Good article but what is a “life hack”? Did I miss a new buzz word? It doesn’t sound very flattering.

  7. Karen Ripley Skelton

    Enjoyed this article. I tend to naturally be this way in my interactions, and I apprecaited the encouragement. It gives me confidence that I’m on the right track.

  8. David Christian Scalisi

    I’ve been tipping with $2’s for years. Almost as good as a business card.

  9. 8 Simple Ways to Stand Out | Life-Long Learner

    […] going to give me that $2 bill? I only come across one of those every few years!” As Scott points out, these are perfect to whip out when leaving a tip or giving someone […]

  10. Jan Williams

    Excellent Article!

  11. Matthew Kimball

    Good information. My wife often asks me… “Did you make someone smile today?” Its a good reminder that bringing a little joy to someone else also brings joy to your own life. Thank-you cards are also still a must for all occasions.

    • Scott Dinsmore

      I love that question. I’m am going to start asking my wife that one (although she doesn’t have much of problem with that 🙂

  12. Careerleaf

    Great article, Scott! With these tips, making a connection shouldn’t be hard at all. The most creative advice in the article is related to tipping with $2 bills. The best and easiest advice for anyone looking to connect with others is approaching them with a sense of kindness and interest in truly getting to know them.

  13. Lisa Fontana Fielding

    I love this post! Passing it on!

  14. Darlene Mednick

    Interesting article. Thank you!

  15. Dawn Casey-Rowe

    So simple and well said–the key here is being genuine. Love this!

  16. Connie G Bellemere

    Love the $2 bills; I use “gold” presidential dollars.

  17. Anonymous

    great post scot I really get a lot from your post.

  18. London PR

    Our tips for the top: Maintain eye contact. Listen to people and respond.
    Listening is so underrated.

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    nice….mrcoolworld4u.blogspot.com

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  25. kulls

    Excellent tips.. Should come in handy to me various situations.
    Thank you
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  26. Sebastian Daniels

    I loved this blog. The best thing to meeting new people is to be happy, be confident, and be interested in them. It is sad that a lot of people have so much anxiety that they can’t be good conversationalists. I love making people’s day by doing something simple and sweet.

    I once walked up to a woman in a Starbucks and said, “I’m not trying to hit on you. I just wanted to let you know that you are beautiful. I hope you pass the happiness forward.” Then I walked out of the store and drove away. I hope it made her day and made her smile.

    The ripple effect!

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  28. MJP

    The ripple effect. the domino effect or whatever. Makes someones day and maybe someone will return the gesture.

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  29. friv

    I once walked up to a woman in a Starbucks and said, “I’m not trying to
    hit on you. I just wanted to let you know that you are beautiful. I hope
    you pass the happiness forward.” Then I walked out of the store and
    drove away. I hope it made her day and made her smile. Should come in handy to me various situations.
    Thank you

  30. Friv

    I just wanted to let you know that you are beautiful. Do you known Nick vujicic?

  31. Career Advice

    I love that question- my favorite one to ask. Gravitate towards asking about passions whenever possible! Exam Result

  32. rod mullen

    tipping with $2 bills is bad luck. duh.

  33. friv 3

    1. Exchange passion
    2. Be happy
    3. Say thank you
    4. Tip with $2s
    5. Obey the 3-second rule
    I will remember it.

  34. Spencer

    I always think of coming up with a way of thinking of common ground and I begin by asking an open question. An example could be inquiring how people’s journeys were. I always try to think of a way of complementing them. A smile always helps too.

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  35. Anton

    Great article! valuable and useful tips. Thanks for sharing 🙂.

  36. Baturay Kaya

    I definitely agree with you, especially on #3 and #5. Thanks for those valuable informations, it is pretty helpful for everyone 🙂 http://scoreshighlights.blogspot.com

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  39. Roy Acuff

    I really like that question – I would to
    ask about it. Gravitate towards asking about passions whenever possible! Be happy

  40. Roy Acuff

    really like that question – I would to
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    Nice Article man,

    I think it will help a lot to the people like me who are newbies.

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  43. Dhaval V Jantiya

    Really it is a very good article all the 5 tips are practical and effective. I often use the 3rd tip i.e. say thank you to the person how done a good job. When someone appreciate your work it really feel good. http://knowyourpan.blogspot.com/

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    Awesome Post, it would surely help me and many others to make new connections with new people..:)

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    tipping with $2 bills is bad luck. duh. and Christmas 2013 and Happy New Year 2014

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  56. Harman Gill

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