The Importance of Connecting in a Disconnecting Society

How do you connect authentically with people today when we live in a disconnected world?

We are all wired to connect as human beings. During these past two years of social distancing, we have been using technology to help us connect. However, I think there is still a gap between many of us not letting us connect authentically.

I believe when we connect authentically, we feel heard and understood and listen to others opening up and sharing with us. We find common ground.

Teaching Storytelling to missionaries in Santiago, Chile [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 2500, ƒ/4, 1/100]

While many of us have seen and even experienced unfollowing or unfriending people due to their views which make us uncomfortable, we somehow can still find our “Tribe.”

Many of us have found online affinity groups around our hobbies or other subjects that help us feel connections in our lives.

We all know how special it is to find your “peeps,” but many of us struggle to understand how to start a relationship with a stranger. If you are in business, your livelihood depends on your ability to create new relationships with strangers. This is how we get “NEW” customers.

We all have heard about “Networking,” but many of us hate doing it. I think the reason is that we have never learned how to do it effectively.

One of the best ways to the network was what we did for the first years of our lives–go to school. What that did for us was put us together with other people our age who needed to learn similar content to develop into working adults.

Many of our closest friends are from a forced networking event–called school. During those years, we spent time together, and through our conversations and even class activities, we formed social networks. We would play sports, join clubs and hang out with those with similar interests within our age groups.

If you own a business, encourage your people to be involved in the community. You have to meet people first before any relationship can begin.

Teach your people to be curious. One of the most incredible things you can teach your team is how to ask questions to get to know others. Just as important is for each person to understand their own stories and interests.

Hands down, the best skill and job was as a photojournalist. I had to introduce myself and get to know people to share their stories. Learned how to not just ask questions like; Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why? But to ask questions that ask people to share the struggles that helped make them who they are today.

The best part of interviewing people for a journalist is that the focus is all on the other person and not on you. What I found is that doing this was helping me to connect in ways that took years to do with my friends through school. It was being intentional that was the difference.

Getting to know someone will help you connect and also build trust with the person.

[NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 200, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 24)]

Moving from acquaintances to a friend is having a connection to their past, present, and even more, their future. What do you like to do? Let’s plan some time together doing something fun.

In sales, you really connect when you know how you can improve their lives. You will often discover that the service you do for work isn’t something they need or would benefit from. That is OK; you have a friend.

Keeping friends, even if they are not someone you can sell to, is essential. Sometimes they can help you or just as good if what they do can help another one of your friends.

Keep repeating that last paragraph. It is the key to those who understand the power of genuine connection. Don’t be shortsighted as so many have become in business. Those just thinking about the next 30 to 90 days do not flourish like those who think about a lifetime.

“The social brain hypothesis predicts that humans have an average of about 150 relationships at any given time,” according to a research study. “Within this 150, there are layers of friends of an ego, where the number of friends in a layer increases as the emotional closeness decreases.”

Most of us do not reach our potential in the number of relationships we can maintain.

“Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.”

― Brené Brown