The Age for Connection in Leadership, Life and Business Why it will benefit you and why not doing anything will harm you, your leadership and your business.
With all the hype around social media and internet based marketing, very few people are really making sales happen successfully via these mediums.
On the social front, it seems that we have become more polarized and separated. People are interacting only with others whom they agree with politically, socially, economically etc.
All the more reason these days to connect deeply with people around you as much as you can.
Does this mean that you have to quit your work and go sit by a coffee shop or stay at home with your family all the time? No. I do not think so.
So what does connecting mean and how will it benefit you?
- We are essentially social or connecting animals.
We evolved to become social animals. The argument from some scientists is that being social is what enabled us as a species to talk with each other, play, strategize and support each other to make sure that each of us survives to produce more children.
It is part and parcel of our existence biologically to connect with others and to work with others.
- Our brains thrive on being social or being connected
Our brains secrete a wonderful chemical, dopamine when we socialize or interact with others. I see it in myself a self-confessed introvert who loves people but finds it exhausting to connect with others for too long. I tend to be a lone-wolf in my work, even though I have 80,000 people in my meetup organization (just in the Bay Area!) But I find it imperative to go connect with other people. Why? When I dont do that for a while, the lack of dopamine gives me sluggish feelings and slow decision making. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and a neuro-hormone it gives those pleasant feelings you get when you feel like you are on the right track to an objective. Being with other people and connecting with them gives you those same feelings.
Yet, many of us resist this because we feel we need to work more or feel guilty when we take time away from work to connect with others. This leads to a condition some psychiatrists call chronic disconnection the feeling of loneliness and burnout.
I realized I had this condition a while back and started putting in corrective actions. I now make it a point when I go out – to connect with as many people as I can:
- Connecting even briefly with service people e.g. waiters, waitresses, the person at the coffee counter, at the grocery store, at the bank.
- Making the attempt to connect even if it feels strange or intrusive. What I have seen is that everyone I have done this with will connect back with me. In fact, I cannot stop them from talking! People want to connect and connect deeply. They are waiting for you (with some exceptions of really grumpy occasional dedicated loners) to make the first move. Even sometimes with the first move done (a gentle Hello how are you?), they need more prodding because they are often shocked and caught surprised that someone is actively taking an interest in them. Some of them are tongue tied but not opposed to talking further they just cant think of something to say! Help them out!
- Trying to remember and keep track of names. People light up when you 1. Ask for their name 2. Give it back to them right away and 3. (THE PRIZE!) Remember their name the next time you see them.
- Try injecting humor. Humor breaks the ice and helps people forget about the drama or significance of their life issues and puts the perspective back it is all about the connections and memories you leave behind with other people.
- Give up unilaterally making people wrong or sticking with your first judgment of their personality. Go and connect anyway unless of course you are clear that it is dangerous to do so.
3. Leadership implies Connecting! Follow Harold Washington, Trump, Obama and hundreds of leaders who got this.
Harold Washington was the mayor of Chicago who died about 20-25 years ago. He was very much loved and helped make Chicago the first progressive, modern day, industrial type city he showed how much you can make things happen by connecting and re-connecting personally with people. Whatever your political affiliations, you will see the same characteristic in other successful leaders from the right and the left.
I heard the best clarification of what leadership really is from Shakespeares play, Henry the Fourth.
In a scene from that play, one warrior contends that he is a great leader.
I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?
The real test of leadership is will they come when you do call for them?
How do you get people to follow?
Well this is a complicated question and I will not pretend to be able to simplify. However, one strong factor is certainly your ability to connect and communicate. People have different styles here some people purely lead from authority rather than connection, others connect more. You need both for sure.
- Business with Clients Implies Getting to Know Them Face to Face, Voice to Voice
I have been following some of the latest enlightened talk from marketing experts operating in larger markets. They have strangely come to the conclusion that they need to connect more as human beings rather than sending out one way messages.
Since 1991, I have led and helped engage hundreds of public events workshops, meetups, webinars, convention speaking gigs, etc.
Engaging and asking questions and listening to what your audience wants is tricky sometimes people do not know what they want or do not know what they dont want. Doing surveys or other mechanical tools are useful but nowhere as clarifying as sitting down with a few people to find out what they actually really need. Does this mean that you have to now spend inordinate amounts of time with people who have no intention of doing business with you? No I dont believe so. But does it mean that you need to sit down and meet these people face to face or voice to voice I would say a resounding Yes!
The age of connection is upon us. Better late than never!
My invitation to you – email me and connect with me, even if you have not done so in a while or never have before. I promise that if you reach out with genuine courtesy, I will respond in kind. I look forward to connecting or re-connecting with you. Use my Linkedin Account to connect here:https://www.linkedin.com/in/sunilbhaskaranspeaker/
Son, husband, leader, community member.