Business = Relationships
So to have a successful business connecting with people is a must.
Yet not all of us like to connect in the same way. As introverts, extroverts, ambiverts, ‘extroverted introverts’, ‘introverted extroverts’ and a gamut of personality types in between, we all have our own different and unique ways of building relationships.
Some of us thrive in large group settings, and conversely others of us forge connections most easily in intimate one-on-one situations.
As I’ve grown to realise, nothing fuels my soul more than meeting one-on-one for a cosy coffee chat or relaxed happy hour, with a glass of bubbly in hand. But in the early days, I forced myself to attend large networking events (because that’s what you do when you’re building a business, right?).
I would push myself to mingle with complete strangers, engage in superficial small talk and ‘speed-networking’, allow others to pitch their services (unsolicited) and then think there was something wrong with me when I walked out of these events, feeling completely and utterly depleted.
But that’s the good news. I found another way. I realised that there is no one size fits all.
Instead of forcing ourselves to follow the status quo and build relationships in traditional ways, we can experiment and find ways to connect that suit us, and make it feel effortless.
Fortunately in today’s hyper-connected world, there are more ways to connect than ever – think large group conferences, networking events, small intimate workshops, one-on-one coffee chats, email, social media, instant messaging, podcasts, webinars, industry events, blogging, and the list goes on and on and on….
So how do you go about figuring out your perfect connection style?
Here are a few things to consider:
- When does meeting new people feel easiest to you and why?
Think back to a time when you felt really comfortable meeting a complete stranger. Where were you? What were you doing? What were you saying? Now think back to a time when you met someone new and it felt exhausting and overwhelming for you. Can you identify the differences? Can you replicate the occasions when meeting new people felt effortless for you?
It may be that you prefer in-person connection, like me, in which case you may want to host intimate dinners, or arrange small events as I’ve done with my local Connection Circles. Or you may love interviewing people on a podcast, where the spotlight is on your guest rather than you, and you get to dial up your introverted strength of listening, and then connecting on a deeper level?
Whatever it is, identify a way to connect that feels easy to you, and then use this technique consistently to build deep, authentic connections within your business.
And don’t forget to pinpoint the type of person you met that fuelled your fire versus drained you, as this is an important piece of the puzzle too!
- What lights your fire?
I find it so much easier to connect with someone when I’m talking about something that I’m passionate about. Things like…women shying away from their unbelievable and unique talents, skills and strengths. Hiding because they don’t believe in themselves and the value they bring to the world. Pretending that they have it all together, but really wanting to drop the masks and be real with each other.
Passion often triggers connection.
So think back to what gets you fired up? What really bugs you that’s happening in the world today? What has a customer said that’s really frustrated you? What do you see happening time and time again, that you wish you could change because if you did, you know the world would be a better place.
Share these stories. Share why these matter to you. And this will be fuel for further, deeper connection with your community.
- What outcome does your conversation partner really want?
Think about what the person you’re connecting with wants. It may be that they want to expand their network, grow their business, connect with like-minded people or simply ‘be heard’. When you pinpoint what people want to accomplish and use that to talk about what you do or how you can help, it’s much easier to connect with someone.
Think about what goals the people you’re meeting have and connect with them on those terms.
So, did you find your connection sweet spot?
If so, hooray! As humans, we are wired for connection. And great businesses are built on connection.So when you get to a place where you feel comfortable building connections, it makes growing a business so much easier.
But if not, you may need to start experimenting to find that sweet spot for YOU. And often, it all comes down to trial and error.
I don’t know what’s right for you personally. But I do know that you don’t need to put on an extroverted mask and pretend that you’re a confident, loud, outgoing chatterbox at the centre of a large group if you prefer to have a quiet chat in a cosy coffee shop, connecting on a deeper level. The same goes for how you communicate with your clients and colleagues. You don’t need to answer every phone call if you prefer to private message your clients on Facebook.
Give yourself permission to be yourself. Tune in to how you feel. Test out different connection settings and see how they land with you. Turn the people dial up or down a little. And keep testing until it feels like you’ve reached your connection sweet spot.
And don’t forget to check in and let me know how it goes for you. I’m always here rooting for you and your success.