At it’s very base level, connection matters as a basic human need.
As a Mum, a Wife, a Leader, a Business Founder and as The Natural Leadership Coach, connections matter in all those areas and I’ve been reminded of this on a couple of occasions recently.
When I was young, connection came easily. It was long before social media played a part. Life was simple and I had a handful of great friends, some of which I’m still connected with today.
What’s struck me during some recent events, is how presenters have made it easy for their participants to connect – yes, this sounds obvious, however, it’s not easy and as an events lead in a past life, I know what it takes to make these things seamless on the surface for the participants.
Making time to connect is one thing but making time to connect on a deeper level and making connections that stand the test of time, is another.
I’m a seasoned professional when it comes to the business of leading in Corporate and networking within an organisation. However, I’m in year two of running my own business and whilst much of that learning transferred easily, there’s been a learning curve in terms of attending networking events and making connections in different ways.
It starts from a very different place when you connect with someone outside of an organisation setting and it brings an element of excitement and challenge. It also feels like being exposed to the networking scene – I sometimes liken it to being presented for your debut at this years’ season, especially when you’re joining an established networking group for example.
If you put yourself out there to connect, what benefits can you expect?
- It brings joy that only connecting with others can bring.
- It brings potential opportunities, or collaborations, that may not have arisen if you hadn’t taken that important first step.
- It allows giving without any strings attached. Remember the old saying, ‘You don’t give to receive!’
- It can create life-long friendships when you least expect it.
- It gives choices – the obvious choice is to work on the connection and create trust and deepen that connection over time. The flip side of course is that no effort is made and the connection is lost, like the notification on Zoom that your internet connection is unstable just as you drop from the meeting, mid-sentence.
In my experience through this past year, making connections has been more important than ever and they have mattered a great deal. Why have I come to believe this?
- Your connections are great for thought partnership on ideas and challenges.
- Your connections can be great accountability partners.
- Your connections can give you things you may never have received – advice and support included.
- Your connections can turn into loyal clients.
- Your connections can turn into friends.
Sitting at home in front of a computer day in and day out, can be a very lonely place, whether you are part of a larger organisation, or a business entrepreneur. So either way, I encourage you to keep connecting with others, to enrich your and their lives.
I have been able to make some lasting and loyal connections because I’ve put the effort in to meet new people as well as nurturing the connections I already have. I’ve signed up to networking sessions that I may not have before and I’ve sought out those that I felt an initial connection with and taken a leap to follow up to see where that connection takes me – 9 times out of 10, the results are positive.
Thank you to those that inspired me to share my thoughts with you on connections and my hope is that this inspires you to keep going – keep making those connections, because even though you are not going in with a ‘What’s in it for me?’ mindset you never know where a connection may lead.
So, I think back to those free and easy days of connecting as a child and it inspires me to bring in some of that simplicity to those connections I make now and in the future. It doesn’t have to be difficult and not everyone is going to be right for you to connect with – it’s up to you who you choose to connect with and to what is possible as a result.
How are you going to ensure you make your connections matter?