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'Click': That Magical Instant Connection Explained

Jun 14, 2010 (Talk of the Nation)

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You meet someone at a party or say hello to a new co-worker, and things just click. Sometimes, one brief conversation evolves into something more.

In Click: The Magic of Instant Connections, author Ori Brafman explains the factors that determine whether a chance encounter has the makings of a lasting relationship.

Brafman and his co-author and brother, Rom Brafman, open the book with stories of unlikely connections. In one instance, the brothers explain how hostage negotiator Greg Sancier relies on that "click" to get his job done. Rather than approaching the hostage taker with force and intimidation, Sancier exposes his own vulnerabilities.

"He'll sit there, and he'll talk to the hostage taker for five, 10 hours," Brafman tells NPR's Neal Conan. When the hostage taker finally reveals something personal — say, that he lost his mother — Sancier uses that revelation as an opportunity. He empathizes, shares a similar story and builds trust out of tension.

That's when the hostage taker and the hostage negotiator click and begin to have a meaningful conversation.

According to Brafman, that vulnerability — exposing a weakness of your own that another person reciprocates — is a key click-causing factor.

Brafman explains how just about anyone can create a click out of shared vulnerability. The trick is forgoing conversations about the weather in favor of more probing questions.

He recommends asking questions like: "What's something meaningful that's happened to you in the last week?" Or: "Who are you feeling closest to in your family right now?" The key is authenticity and appropriateness, or the connection won't be formed.

Only then, he says, can you begin to experience the "magic" of incredible connectedness.

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