Written by: Liza Weidle, Curtis Media Group Director of Career Development
Like snuggling under Grandma’s quilt when you aren’t feeling well, there is comfort in making a connection with another person. It can be as simple as a spontaneous smile on a rainy day or as planned as picking up the phone for a birthday greeting to a friend.
Take intentional steps to make your life more connected with relationships that have a foundation built on face-to-face interactions. Here are just a few ways to get started.
Bring Back the Lunch Break
Turn off the computer, get out of your chair and eat lunch away from work. If your office has a break room, make a plan with a co-worker to for lunch. Or even better, take lunch outside. Consider freshening up a weathered picnic table with a tablecloth or bringing a lighter lunch with fruit to eat as you walk and talk.
Make that Call
It’s easy to hit the “like” button on social media. Make the extra step and call the person. During high stress times in a person’s life, it is so comforting to hear a friend’s voice.
Stop the Pitch
At networking events get to know the people in the room. Don’t lead with a pitch for your business or your idea. If there is a group talking, ask if you can join the group and take the time to ask questions to discover what the others are interested in before “selling” them.
Save a Tree
Unless you are going to a speed networking event that doesn’t offer the opportunity for more than a quick elevator pitch, be selective when passing out business cards, brochures or other marketing materials. Take a notebook to capture follow-up notes and then email copies of materials.
Follow-up on Promises
After you meet someone for lunch or at a networking event, be sure to follow-up before the connection is lost. If you promised to add them on LinkedIn or other group list, do it! If it’s appropriate, send a card. If you have time, make a plan for coffee about a month later.
Be a Connector
Most importantly, help connect people to each other. This effort may not initially benefit you, but it deepens your networking abilities for the future, plus it’s a way of paying forward kindness.
As you are making deeper connections, look for opportunities to include people in other aspects of your life. Host game nights at your home. Plan hiking adventures or evenings at outdoor concerts.
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