Do you know the fool-proof way to know if someone desires a connection with others? They are breathing. For those playing at home…that’s everyone among the living.
Even the most introverted introverts still have a deep desire to share and connect. Humans crave connection. The explosive growth and adoption of social media is proof. We are all communicating but are we connecting? Why is it that in our always-on and always-connected culture we struggle to truly connect with people?
Perhaps we need a refresher on the truths of effective connection. These truths are timeless but their application has changed due to the three communication disruptions: technology, social media, and the emerging generations.
Truth #1: Connecting requires selflessness.
But first…DO NOT take a selfie. First, focus on others. The moment you become more concerned with your own agenda during communication is when you’ve lost the connection with your audience. Turn “selfies” into “youies.”
Application: Eliminate the words “I,” “me,” and “my” from your social media communications. Post encouraging words on a friends Facebook wall or Instagram snap. Ask a thought provoking question of your Twitter followers and then genuine listen and engage. Share a value-add piece of content with a LinkedIn connection.
Truth #2: Connecting requires energy.
If you text, email, or tweet someone and you do not receive a response in 1-2 days…would you consider that effective communication? I wouldn’t. Timeliness matters. Tech and social media have decreased our response time expectations. If takes energy and intentionality to monitor, filter, and respond across all of today’s communication channels. If you aren’t on top of your communications, you will struggle to connect.
Application: Commit to timely communications across all mediums. Use a social media monitoring tool like Hootsuite to monitor your social media streams. Or hire virtual help to better manage your email.
Truth #3: Connecting requires simplicity.
Twitter has confined us to 140 characters and 6 second video communications. Today’s noisy world demands succinct and simple communications. Today's average human attention span is 7 seconds. Getting to simple is excruciatingly complex but absolutely necessary. Tight communication is right for connection.
Application: Ask yourself, “What are the bare essentials that I need to communicate for people to understand it?” Then ask, “How can I make those few essential points memorable?"
Truth #4: Connecting requires common ground.
Shared interest breeds connection. The Internet is a treasure trove of people’s interests. A simple Google search or social media view can tell you more than you need to know about someone’s unique interests. It’s never been easier to find common ground when connecting with someone.
Application: Review someone’s LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook profiles to find common interests and then leverage those interests for a deep connection. Secondly, choose to connect over the communication platform or medium you both seem to prefer the most.
Truth #5: Connecting requires authenticity.
In the early days of social media, Millennials grew massively large online networks because they shared (maybe over-shared) who they were online. People could view pictures, read their blog, sense the demeanor of their tweets, and see their interests. This transparency fostered a connection.
Application: Self-confidence precedes selflessness. Spend time on what makes you unique and invest in your personal brand. Be human. Be you.
Question: How do you best cultivate a connection in today’s digital age?