We are all in relationships with each other – we’ve all connected one way or another. It could be someone in your field you’ve met via LinkedIn or someone you admire you’ve been tweeting with.
Connecting with others is a big topic. You can find article after article about making friends, starting relationships and how to connect on a professional level. Connecting can happen online or in-person.
No matter how you go about it, there are 4 elements of connecting we all need to keep in mind –
Watch the world around you. How are people interacting? Who is interacting with who? Sometimes it’s worth it to just sit and people watch. You can learn a lot about people when you just sit back and watch.
Everything you do should have a purpose and connecting with others is no different. Why are you connecting with that person? Is for professional gain? Maybe you find them interesting. Take a vested interest in the person – don’t connect just to name drop.
When you are intentionally connecting, you need to avoid the bubble and break stereotypes. I know you’re thinking – whaaat? Let me explain.
We tend to surround ourselves with people like us – Republicans hang with other Republicans. Democrats hang with Democrats. Hot guys hang with gorgeous girls. When you intentionally connect with someone, you need to get away from those like you. Leave the comfort zone. It’s like in high school, leave the cheerleader table and hang out with the band nerds (we’re cool, by the way!).
Authenticity is something that has almost completely gone away thanks to social media. So many people pose online as someone they aren’t. We’ve seen them – supermoms, single guys partying it up, those who display all the pricey things they own to appear as having more money than they do… you know someone like that. Lack of authenticity turns people away. I know social media pros preach about this and it’s true – the fakers can and will be found out thanks to sites like Google.
People online can be very misleading. It’s hard to mislead in person so this happens more online. Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. When you connect with someone you need to do your own background check on them. Google them. Look them up on LinkedIn. You get the picture.
Another element of being wise is to not compromise who you are just to fit in or connect with someone or even when you do opposite of what you say. Be mature about it – if you have any ounce of self-respect you won’t cave.
So there you have it – be observant. intentional. authentic. wise.
What are some important elements you see or do when connecting?
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