Connections have always been linked to personal and professional success. Doing well in business is about the internal and external relationships that we build and foster. The key is to create meaningful connections instead of collecting connections.
One way to stay connected in a virtual world is with social media. Our personal Facebook pages keep us in touch and give us the opportunity to interact with friends and family, even those who live a long-distance away from us. Our professional social media, like LinkedIn, offers the same with colleagues, especially those we met and connected with at business meetings, events and conferences. These are people we want to keep in our sphere because we share the potential for a mutually beneficial relationship to help each other with mentoring, sales, new introductions, and more.
When LinkedIn first started, we were sending invites to everyone we knew and also accepted invites from anyone who asked us to connect. The goal was to have 500+ connections, do you remember that? It’s practically impossible to nurture 500 or more relationships! So how big of a network do you really need? The larger the network, the more time and energy you will spend on social media which can be emotionally exhausting. Studies conclude that people can reasonably handle about 150 meaningful connections. Is it time for you to reset your network? If so, start by creating a smaller network full of valuable contacts that are truly willing to help and support you. Next be present and genuine. Reach out to your connections to find out how they are doing. Then offer to help, share information, or make introductions for them. Choose the people you want to surround yourself with and create a network that benefits your work, your work-life vision, and brings you joy.
Other ways to stay connected in a virtual world are by sending a quick text or a brief email to a connection. These check-ins let them know you are thinking about them and don’t require a lot from them. All of us are inundated with texts and emails every day that require action from us. A friendly hello in the midst of our media stream is always welcome.
Schedule FaceTime and Zoom visits to connect in real-time. Seeing someone’s face and talking live helps breaks up the isolation that working virtually can create. The key is to keep these visits short, 20-30 minutes. Use them as a time to take a break. Put down your work, grab a cup of coffee, and be present during the conversation. Sharing time and smiles with a colleague is very different than conducting or participating in a Zoom required for work. It lifts you up!
Lastly, don’t underestimate the value of connecting with a handwritten note or sending a small gift to someone you want to appreciate, motivate, or inspire! Notes and gifts are tangible reminders that the connections we make in our virtual world are real people who mean the world to us.
About the Author: Lisa Assetta, Founder & CEO, Office Assistance Plus & ASAP Member