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4 Keys to Communicating One-on-One, in a Group, or Onstage

By Maxwell Leadership | February 21, 2023
4 Keys to Communicating One-on-One, in a Group, or Onstage

This blog post has been adapted from Dr. John Maxwell’s communication resource, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. John Maxwell has been one of the world’s foremost communication experts for more than 40 years, and this guidebook for relational and presentational connection contains invaluable insights. You can pick up a copy here.

Communication is one of the most valuable skills anyone could master.

In the workplace, communication strengthens teams, promotes productive collaboration, and shines light on areas with potential for improvement. In relationships, it allows us to see others more clearly and be seen more clearly. But no matter the context, effective communication allows us to compound our results by partnering with others – and help them do the same by imparting onto them.

So, how do we perfect our performance in this all-important area, whether we’re communicating with one or one thousand?

Scaling Communication Skills to the Next Level

Dr. John Maxwell is one of the world’s leading experts on the art of connection. John has spent the last 40 years honing his communication in crucial one-on-one conversations, in front of audiences onstage and online, and in worldwide best-selling leadership books. And when it comes to connecting on any level, he highlights the importance of four things: interest, value, intentions, and gratitude.


Most people would probably say it’s easier to connect with people one-on-one than with a group or an audience, because most people have more practice connecting individually. But connecting on a grander scale doesn’t have to be difficult. John Maxwell recommends leveraging the skills you use at one level, on the next level. That process begins with connecting one-on-one.

To connect well individually, you’ll need to…

  • Have interest in the person. People listen to and enjoy time with those who are interested in them.
  • Place value on that person. At Maxwell Leadership, we consider ourselves “people of value adding value to people of value.” When people feel they’ve been valued, you open the door to connection – to them, and for them.
  • Put his or her interests ahead of your own. As much as it benefits us to communicate, communication is ultimately for the benefit of the other person. Keeping the purpose of communication in mind helps us remain grounded and gains the trust of the listener.
  • Express gratitude to and for that person. Gratitude communicates value and humility.


Once you connect well one-on-one, take stock of what skills you’ve developed and what assets you’ve utilized to succeed in that arena. Now consider how you can use these things to connect in a group. What easily transfers? What must be “translated” or altered in some way to be used with a group?

  • Show interest in each person in your group – ask each person questions.
  • Place value on each person by pointing out his or her value to the others in the group.
  • Make it your goal to add value to everyone in the group, and let them know that is your intention.
  • Express your gratitude to each person in front of others.


As you become more adept at connecting with groups, once again take stock of what worked well in connecting with them. Try to sense patterns and anticipate how you can further scale those strategies. The larger the audience, the more energy you need to bring to your communication.

To start the connection process with a large audience, do the following…

  • Show interest in your audience – when possible, meet and greet audience members before you speak. While speaking, let people know that you understand that each person is unique and special.
  • Place value on each person by letting them know you spent a lot of time preparing your talk because you value them, their purpose, and their time.
  • Put the people first by letting them know you are there to serve them. For example, after many of his talks, John makes himself available to interact with people and sign books.
  • Express gratitude to them and thank them for their time.

Looking for more ways to become a better communicator?

At Maxwell Leadership, our heart is personal growth and development. It is so much part of our DNA that at our twice-annual event, the International Maxwell Conference, we have an entire day dedicated to personal growth – and we’d like to invite you to join.

On March 13, 2023, join Dr. John C. Maxwell and his panel of personal growth experts – including NFL head coach Sean McDermott! – at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, Florida (or remotely!) for an entire day of growth and development training. Not only will you connect with other professionals passionate about achieving their full potential, but you’ll also go home equipped with an intentional action plan to begin putting in place same-day.

You can register for Personal Growth Day here – we would love to grow with you!

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