In Daring Greatly, Brene Brown says, “A connection is the energy that exists between two people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they can derive sustenance and strength from that relationship.”
Connection plays a huge role in our daily lives. Connecting with other people even in basic ways makes us happier and more fulfilled. We need others for encouragement, inspiration, and help to go after the big things in life.
Networking is something we all need, but in reality, it is challenging to find the time to make those connections when juggling work, home, after school activities, etc.
I learned very quickly that it was important for me to find ways to make time for relationships even when I felt to busy to do so. I looked for creative, intentional ways to make it happen. Networking can always be improved. It is the “how” to improve that we all seem to be in search for.
Here are 5 tips for creating that much needed space to connect:
Cup of Joe
I like to do quick meetings in the morning to get me fired up! My definition of a quick meeting is 30 minutes in which I make an effort for the 30 minutes to be split 50/50. A productive creative conversation takes place in a friendly place, such as a coffee shop. A coffee shop brings that benefit of discussing the real issues and helps stimulate positive activity.
A Walk to Remember
Schedule 30 minutes of your hour lunch break to take a walk with a someone you want to connect with. It is important to not replace human connection with technology. Underestimating the power of connecting face to face can cost you the best relationships of your life.
I sign up to be on boards and committees which offer another way to connect with some of my clients who are on those same boards and committees. It’s a once a month meeting but also an opportunity to connect and share the benefits of volunteering together. Volunteering is the ultimate expression of human relationships – people acting on behalf of their communities, because of a desire to contribute and help. As a result, volunteers tend to be highly engaged and committed to the outcomes of their work. A person engaged in volunteering benefits from increased self-confidence in their power as an individual to influence change and inspire others. What a great way to connect!
I know. Most days you feel too busy to even take a lunch break. That is most days for me, but you don’t have to feel that way everyday. I don’t like the pressure of several scheduled lunch meetings in one week, but what does work for me is to schedule only one lunch date per week with someone who excites me. It gives me something to look forward to that week.
Pick Up the Phone
Pick four people you want to connect with each month and set aside a designated time each week for a one hour phone call with them. Discuss resources. Offer support. Just talking with someone who understands your objectives and helps you celebrate your wins can be very energizing for the both of you.
I have learned so much with each connection that I have made throughout my years in business. Those relationships have been so important in my life.
So, stop making excuses. Start making the time. Go be with people you care about. Grow your relationships.
Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Habits take time to build, but if you choose to adopt some of these ideas for networking into your daily and weekly routines, you will find that over time, you will have created strong, meaningful connections.
How do you fit in authentic networking into your busy day?