Connecting with people is powerful. Real connection is something we can easily neglect as we get involved in our busy lives, work and our general obsession with social media and online interfaces. It happens to me all the time, but despite the annoying reminder from my iPhone on the amount of time I’ve spent online – I am definitely trying to change.
It’s not that I haven’t been connecting, what’s changed for me is how conscious I am of the need to connect and how important it is for me and those I reach out to.
I am fortunate enough to be able to connect with a number of people from my communication and coaching communities here in London. Both groups have either been invaluable sources of information, have become great friends and/or supported me through aspects of my life and career. As I think about these human connections and the positive effect they’ve had on me, I was wondering if others were aware of its impact.
This made be curious, especially since I work as an independent practitioner which can sometimes be isolating due to a lack of daily interaction with people in the workplace. But also, because some are experiencing isolation even while working in these environments. I re-read an article recently from Psychology Today, it’s old but relevant, where connection wasn’t just about the physical manifestation of it, but more about the sense that one was connected, accepted or belonged. Research mentioned in the above article also states that strong social connection leads to increased longevity and improvements to health. There is a direct link between connecting socially and improving wellbeing.
For me this further confirms that we are not made to function alone or be isolated – that I need to keep connecting as much as possible and remain open to others. And it is about being open, because it doesn’t always have to be with the people that you know. I recently made some new connections when I attended the IABC’s 2019 World Conference in Vancouver. Reflecting on my time there, beyond the great organisation and skilled speakers, the main thing that stood out was the connections being made. The energy present from meaningful conversations, that people were experiencing throughout the conference, was inspiring to say the least.
Celeste Headlee, one of the keynotes at the conference and author of the book, ‘We need to Talk’reminded us about the lost art of conversation. From her book she says: “It only takes one good conversation to change your understanding of someone else’s world, your world, and the world at large.” I love the idea that whether long or short, a real conversation can achieve a lot and as it relates to connecting, it is essential.
One of the things I do regularly is meet with people to catch up or have a conversation. I thrive on connecting with people, plus I love to talk. Because I’ve been thinking about connection – I’ve also been listening more, which is essential in order to really have a good conversation. I realised that much of the time we just aren’t being heard, and because we’re busy we just move on. But it is great when we do get the chance to simply share, listen, be heard and connect?
So, two thoughts to takeaway:
A good conversation can be powerful– it can bring clarity and a sense of connection, even when the person isn’t necessarily well known to you. Honest and open conversation, where there is no judgement, can create the space needed for you to be yourself, think and maybe even come up with those answers you’ve been looking for.
Connecting with people is important– don’t neglect it or avoid it because of excuses or because you’re shy or uncertain. Someone is probably waiting for you to reach out to have a chat, it will make you feel better and you might gain. Maybe it’s time to lay aside our favourite piece of technology (yes, I said it), and consciously develop connections, in person with people both inside and outside of work.
I found this quote from author Brene Brown who says: “Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
I hope you find these words useful, please feel free to get in touch so we can have a conversation and connect.