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Making a connection: Business leader shares strategies to success

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    Michael Barrovecchio, from CAPO Leadership Consulting in Hellertown, talks with Amy Levinson, from Jim Thorpe Wellness and Massage, after the Carbon Chamber and Economic Development’s Women in Business Luncheon. He was the speaker for the event and presented ways of about how to talk to people, make connections and become better leaders.

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    Michael Barrovecchio, from CAPO Leadership Consulting in Hellertown, was the speaker at the Carbon Chamber and Economic Development’s Women in Business Luncheon. He presented ways of how to talk to people, make connections and become better leaders. KRISTINE PORTER/TIMES NEWS

Published November 23. 2019 06:39AM

You might be communicating with people, but are you connecting?

The Carbon Chamber and Economic Development’s Women in Business Luncheon hosted Michael Barrovecchio, of CAPO Leadership Consulting in Hellertown, to talk about success and making connections. His presentation at the Covered Bridge Inn in Palmerton was titled “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.”

Barrovecchio started off by saying that his true nature is to be quiet and reserved.

“If you’re anything like me, I’m hard-wired shy,” he said.

Barrovecchio said he kept quiet in groups and meetings, because there were so many great ideas, so much brilliance that he didn’t think he had anything to add. But he discovered early that being that way was limiting his success.

“I’m on a mission now. One of the things we do at the practice is we say, ‘Bring your brilliance.’ ”

He said everyone is born unique and has brilliance.

“We all have great ideas,” he said. “I’m on a mission with this company to have people discover their strengths, discover who they are, discover their brilliance, and then to step into that and live.”

Connections are the key, Barrovecchio said.

“If I have all this brilliance, if I have all this knowledge and talent, but I can’t bring that out to the outside world, it will limit my success. It will limit my impact,” he said.

Not just education

A study by Stanford University found that education is only 12.5% of the reason for success. The ability to work with people and connect with people is 87.5% of it. He quoted author George Bernard Shaw, who said, “The number one problem with communication is the illusion it has taken place.”

Part of connecting is asking for clarification, he said. Don’t pretend to know what is going on. He went on to define connection through the words of his mentor and leadership author John Maxwell, “Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.”

Barrovecchio said there are five points to remember when developing the ability to connect with people.

First, “connecting increases our influence in every situation.”

“You can have the best idea, but if you cannot connect and reliably express your views and ideas, it will limit,” he said. “In the beginning of my career, it limited me, and I would see other people winning and I would say, ‘I have better ideas, I’ve got this. I understand it better.’ But I wasn’t able to get my point across.”

There are certain characteristics that help make a person more likely to be successful: vision, pragmatism, consensus building, charisma and trustworthiness.

“Each and every one of these requires the ability to connect,” he said.

The second point says “connecting is always about others.” It’s about servant leadership.

Law of connection

One of the laws of leadership is the law of connection. And the law of connection says “A leader touches the heart before they ask for a hand,” Barrovecchio said. Barrovecchio said one of his favorite stories to illustrate that connecting is about others is of an executive who had an agreement with the doorman. After each person came through, she would ask the doorman how the person treated him. She didn’t want to do business with someone who couldn’t properly respect another person, because how a person treats someone that can’t do anything for him or her, speaks to their integrity.

“Connecting goes beyond words” is the third point, Barrovecchio said that what people say to another person is only 7% with words. The rest of it is with the tone of our voice and our body language.

“Choose your words carefully,” he said. “Make sure what they see and what they hear line up. Your actions and the visual will overtake what you say.”

Dress appropriately. Look like a business person, but understand that the face can deliver a different message. Be cognizant as to whether or not the resting face looks mad or not happy.

When in a group, stand with an open posture, not with arms crossed over the chest or in a circle closed off to others. Pivot out so others know they can approach the group.

The fourth point is “connecting always requires energy.” It does take energy, so keep it simple, Barrovecchio said. Some people think they have to speak in a way that makes things sound complicated. Don’t be afraid to explain things clearly and simply. People will appreciate it and admire the person, and they will be thankful for the extra time spent to help them.

The fifth point circles back to the beginning of Barrovecchio’s talk: “connecting is more of a skill, than a natural talent.”

He didn’t start off as a person naturally gifted with an ability to connect with others and lead, but it can be learned. It’s a skill, not a talent.

For more information about seminars, workshops or to contact him, go to His company is developing an online course for people who want to learn more about leadership.

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