This article makes the commonly-mistaken distinction between communication and connection and how they come together to form influence that will take you and your practice to the next level!

I’ve been writing a lot about mindfulness and how to develop it as a leader. I have discussed not only 5 attributes but the 7 virtues of mindful leadership. I suggested that you think about all examples that evoke positive thinking for you and interactions, situations, and conversations. I also challenged you to identify three scenarios that trigger a reaction from you during a conversation you might be having with another staff member or individual.

So, what is the main theme here? These principles and concepts all revolve around the art of communication. We’ve talked about communication and how important it is for new leads, new patients, and anyone else we meet until you’re blue in the face. But how important is it for your employee(s) and other encounters?

Why is communication so important to our success? Why is effective communication so important? One of the single most important tools of leadership is communication. We can look at the definition of leadership in one word “ influence”. Thus, no matter who you are you influence others both personally and professionally.

Thus, leadership is influence and communication is the tool that helps us more effectively influence people. That is why it is so critical to improve communication, and connection with people.

How well we communicate is determined not by how well we say things, but by how well we are understood. We can communicate all day but if we are not connected the message goes unheard.

I bet you have found yourself saying:

“Do they not get what I am saying?”

“I’ve had to tell them the same thing 3 and 4 times. What don’t they understand?”

You communicated, but the connection was not made. So what is the difference between communication and connection?

Communication is critical to success and connection is critical to communication.

Connection creates energy between two people, thus communication becomes more effective. Having a connection is a multiplier to communication.

Here is an example:

If your communication skills 2/10 and connection skills 5/10, your overall communication is 10/100

If your communication skills 5/10 and connection skills 8/10 your overall communication is 40/100.

Thus, creating a connection has a significant impact on your conversation.

Most of us think of communication as email, phone, text, face to face, etc.

Connection should be thought of as relationships that are developed. You’ve heard this before with lead generation and nurturing. I am sure there are patients, staff members, personal friends that you feel a connection with more than others. You might find yourself saying things like:

“They get what I am saying”

“They seem to have the same values, interests, etc. that I have”

“They can easily connect with others”

So, if Connection is so important for effective communication resulting in Influence how do we connect?

Leadership and influence begin with the connection, building trust and establishing the relationship. You can now influence your team, and anyone else personally and professionally.

Without a connection, you can’t build trust and thus, can’t build a relationship that can have influence. Influence requires that others feel safe during the conversation, this builds trust.

Building relationship and trust require listening, the most effective communication tool for connection. There are 3 types of listening, each might be used depending on the situation, but all are critical to understand:

1. Subjective: you ask a question with the intent that you will be talking about yourself. You’re only listening for what you want to hear, you miss the main message.

Staff member comes to you with an idea, but you answer with the idea that you want instead of exploring their idea further.

You’re not listening to understand, you’re ready to respond with what’s important to you

2. Objective: Completely focused on the objective information, The listener does not think about him or herself with the information. This level is effective, but doesn’t get to the heart of the problem

  • This is generally the type of listening when we are performing objective assessments with our patients.
  • Or when a staff member is giving us data about a topic or situation.

You are listening, but not paying attention to other nuances. 

3Intuitive Listening: also known as active listening. It is an art of listening, paying attention to what is NOT being said…. The listener is also listening to tone, energy, body language. This is the most POWERFUL form of listening, and it fosters a sense of connection between you and employee.

FACT: 90% of communication is nonverbal, body language, facial, tone, voice, etc


What type of listener are you?

Identify a specific situation where you were listening Subjectively, Objectively, Intuitively, then describe the response you received from your speaker, employee. Which one created more of a connection?


Next time you have a conversation with an employee who brings you a problem that might trigger a reaction from you, utilize the stop and pause for 5 sec and see if you can use active listening to make a connection and listen to understand.

I help PT practice owners identify the root cause of their stress and frustration while trying to grow, expand, and reform their business. Since your staff are your most important asset, I help you recruit, retain, develop, inspire, and engage a rockstar team.