Ori Brafman: How to Build Instant Connections [Entire Talk] | Summary and Q&A

August 11, 2011
Stanford eCorner
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Ori Brafman: How to Build Instant Connections [Entire Talk]

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In this video, Ori Brafman discusses the power of instant connections and how they can be leveraged in various aspects of life, including the military, relationships, and leadership. He explains the role of hormones like cortisol and oxytocin in fight or flight responses and intimate connections. Brafman explores the importance of vulnerability, proximity, and mirroring in fostering these instant connections. He also addresses the potential downsides and challenges of maintaining and navigating these connections in different contexts.

Questions & Answers

Q: What chemical in the brain helps us deal with fight or flight situations?

Cortisol is the stress chemical that helps us deal with fight or flight situations. It gives us a surge of energy and glucose to handle these situations.

Q: How does cortisol affect us after a fight or flight response?

After the surge of cortisol, we often feel tired and exhausted. Cortisol is taxing on our bodies and can lead to feelings of exhaustion and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in some cases.

Q: Why did a general from the army reach out to Ori Brafman?

The general reached out to Brafman because the army was facing a problem. After years of back-to-back combat, soldiers were experiencing the effects of cortisol and struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other adjustment issues. The general wanted to explore how to build a trust-based network and leverage soft power in the army.

Q: What is oxytocin and what does it do?

Oxytocin is a chemical released primarily when mothers give birth. It creates an instant trusting relationship and helps foster connections. Oxytocin is responsible for feelings of intimacy and connection.

Q: How do instant connections affect relationships in the long term?

Research shows that couples who experienced instant connections tend to have the same factors in their lives as other couples. However, the difference lies in the emotions and level of passion in the relationship. Instant connection couples tend to feel more passion and intimacy even after 25 years together.

Q: How does vulnerability impact relationships and trust?

Vulnerability plays a crucial role in building trust and intimacy in relationships. When individuals are open and share their feelings, it creates a more positive and supportive environment. Vulnerability allows for deeper connections and greater trust between individuals.

Q: How does proximity affect the strength of relationships?

Proximity plays a significant role in building relationships. Research shows that individuals who are physically closer to each other tend to form stronger connections. The closer the proximity, the higher the chances of collaboration and trust between individuals.

Q: Can instant connections be fostered in situations where they don't naturally occur?

Yes, instant connections can be fostered even in situations where they don't naturally occur. By adopting certain behaviors like vulnerability and mirroring, individuals can create a more intimate and connected environment. These behaviors can help bridge the gap and foster closer relationships.

Q: What is the role of self-monitors in forming connections?

High self-monitors, who naturally mirror others and adjust their behavior, have an advantage in forming connections. They can quickly build rapport and adapt to different social situations. This trait can lead to more success and rapid career advancement.

Q: How can oxytocin-based environments balance the need for collaboration and protectiveness?

Oxytocin-based environments, while fostering intimacy and collaboration, need to strike a balance between forming closed off groups and promoting inclusivity. It is essential to create a culture that encourages collaboration beyond emotional connections and actively works to break down silos between groups.


Instant connections, fueled by hormones like oxytocin, can have a powerful impact on relationships, leadership, and collaboration. Vulnerability, proximity, and mirroring are effective ways to foster these connections. While instant connections have their downsides and challenges, they can bring a sense of intimacy and trust that can lead to greater success and fulfillment. Finding a balance between fostering connections and promoting inclusivity is key for creating positive oxytocin-based environments.

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