How to Connect in the Twenty First Century

Connect.  What do you think of when you hear that word?  I think most people think Facebook Friending, Following on Twitter or emailing a contact.  “Hey, let’s connect.”

Our definition of connecting has changed a lot in the last decade.  Think about it for a second; back in the year 2001, we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, or smart phones.  In fact, if I remember correctly I didn’t get my first cell phone until 2002 or 2003.  Before the turn of the century, we actually spoke or even looked at the person we were connecting with.  No so today.

Why is this important?  Understanding how to connect with people is one of the foundations to success – as a person first, and a professional second.  If you cannot connect with another person on a level where trust is established, you will find it hard to make inroads in your life.  I believe trust is found through the eyes (for proof, even looking at those eyes above feels a little crazy).

I have had the fortune to meet a lot of new people recently, and I make it a point to set a time to meet these people in person, shake their hand, sit across the table from them and look them in the eye.  Why?  Because this creates a trust bond.  Even after 30 minutes of talking, once they know you are genuine, a bond has been created and a great things can now happen from that interaction.  Great things like further introduction into a tighter social/professional circle and connections to other like-minded people you otherwise wouldn’t end up meeting.

That is what’s happening to me right now, and it’s great.  I can’t wait to repay all the favors people are doing for me.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Antropsicosociopatologico