People are our most important resource in the workplace explains Joan Burge
For decades, we have used the word networking. In 2018, I decided to change my language. Instead of saying networking, I started using connecting. It has an entirely different feeling and it truly identifies what we need to do. We need to build connections (and sometimes deep connections) with people. We must be interested in others and their agenda.
Building connections has certainly benefitted me and will do the same for you. When you genuinely get to know people and are accepting of them, they will help you in ways you cannot imagine. I’m not saying this will happen with every person you meet but overall, in time, it will help.
What’s Holding You Back?
At its very base, business is about connecting people. As you learn and become more comfortable connecting to people and then connecting people you know together, you will become a strategic connector. And that can easily translate into sales, knowledge, and opportunity.
The biggest obstacle to connecting is insecurity. Too many people do not stretch themselves beyond their tiny comfort zones. They cling to what is safe and comfortable and miss opportunities to make new friends, find jobs, and learn information that could help them.
It really boils down to this: You are worth meeting. You are worth knowing. You have something vital to share that no one else can: your perspective. If you withhold that from the world, it will be a smaller, sadder place.
How to Build Connections
Start by saying “Hello.”
I can’t tell you the number of people I pass who never say hello!
Your smile can open the door to the other person talking to you. It’s amazing how positively others respond to a smile.
Ask people about themselves
Everyone loves to talk about themselves or their life or their job. You can simply ask, “How is your day going?” or “What time do you get off your shift?”
Sincerely compliment a person
You can tell a coworker, “I liked how you handled that situation” or “I admire the confidence you demonstrated in that meeting.” Just look for what people do well.
Write notes or a letter
We can’t always build connections face-to-face. For instance, maybe you met someone interesting at a conference or business meeting. Then you both go your own way—maybe you even live in different states or countries. Or there may be times when you never meet the person, but you have read about them in an article or a press release. You can still write them a note, card or letter and tell them what you think about their work, ideas, or causes.
Wende Morrow is an excellent example. At a recent Office Dynamics conference, Wende purposely came to me and introduced herself. She talked about her passion for the profession. Over the past few years, Wende has written me numerous times with brilliant ideas. She is an amazing writer and can paint a beautiful picture of what she is thinking. We have gone out to dinner and Wende has been a resource for me. She has recommended great books for me to read and has even sent me website links to informative blogs. As you can see, Wende truly stands out in my mind.
Attend Facebook Live events
Since February 2018, I have been hosting Facebook Friday. This is a vehicle I use to inspire people to end their week on a good note and provide a few quick tips. Almost every Friday, Jordana joins Facebook Live. Jordana has also attended several of my live e-courses this year. I now feel connected to Jordana. She contributes great ideas in the live e-courses and on Facebook Live. So of course, I want to get to know her. I admire her. Who knows where the future will take our relationship?
I Want to Be Very Clear
Texting and emailing are not connecting. True connections are built by creating human moments … sitting face-to-face, talking with each other, listening to each other, or getting a cup of coffee together. You must genuinely care about the other person. When having human moments, be totally focused on the other person. Do not be glancing at your phone. Block out other distractions. Let the person you are with know that he or she is the most important thing at that moment!