How can you compete with highly connected people? How do you connect to your many different stakeholders on a regular basis?
The more complicated our lives get through using new technologies, the more critical it is for serving leaders to connect personally. I thought it might help to share several ideas I used to connect with my favorite people on a regular basis.
The first way I connect with people is to take a personal approach to reaching out to others. Most of my senior leader clients receive several hundred to several thousand emails per day. With this volume of email, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed.
When I connect I use the method each individual prefers. This means I ask them so I know how they want to communicate. I then put that information in my file on them. I’ve discovered many of my partners prefer a quick call to an email. I keep a phone list on my desktop so I can quickly find their phone numbers and emails when I need them. It makes it easy for me to connect quickly and then move on.
The second way I connect with people is on holidays, special events, and birthdays. Today, there is an abundance of ways of keeping track of key people around you. Want to stand out from the crowd? Take time to send a note to someone about their children or spouse. Then make sure you capture the information in a way that makes it easy to use it again in the future.
I have a former client who sends me a note on my anniversary every year. We haven’t worked together for over 10 years. You can’t imagine how good it makes me and my wife feel. Take time to augment your professional relationships with the personal touch. It sets you apart from others in your field. It also makes life more enjoyable for you.
The third way I connect with people is through their passions and special interests. If you want to connect to people on a deeper level, learn about their hobbies and their passion. Many of my clients are photographers. Whenever we get together, we talk about what they’ve photographed recently.
In many cases, I help them find resources that help them enjoy their passions in our shared experience. I have met many clients and friends at the zoos in their cities. I send them different special events invitations when I get them, as well. They don’t always go, but they know you are thinking about them.
Finally, when I connect with people, I do it authentically. There is nothing worse than an individual who connects mechanically. Many of my friends are interested in things that I’m not. When asked to go to an event around their interests, I’ve learned to allow them to teach me about what they love. I ask lots of questions and I have a great time. It’s easy to connect where you have expertise, but connecting through another’s passions gives you a completely different perspective on the person.
I’ve given you several ways to connect with others. It takes time to connect, but you build stronger relationships with the important people in your life. In a socially connected world, it’s still critical to connect in person. I hope I’ve given you several easy ways to connect and empower the people in your life.
Join us next Tuesday when we share TED Prize winner, Dave Isay’s wish for the coming year. It will help you connect on a new level with the people in your life.