By Michelle Tillis Lederman, CSP
Everything feels a little harder these days. Whether it is the job search, networking, shifting minds, or for me – just getting some exercise – everything takes more planning and more initiative. It also, as always, takes relationships.
It is more apparent than ever that we are in the Network Age. A time when the most important assets you have are your relationships. We have relied on these relationships and connections to help us get through the challenges that have come our way recently.
Today it is all about learning to listen as we also find ways to be heard. It is about learning to find strength in our differences. It is about understanding for different needs and perspectives. These times are about Connection and those who connect us, AKA – Connectors.
Remember, a Connector is someone who is relationship focused in their approach in people, business, and life. That’s a Connector in its simplest form, but in my experience and research, I discovered it is much more than that. A Connector has a specific mindset and acts in distinct ways based on that mindset. Not only do they know a lot of people, in terms of numbers, but also a diverse set of people. Connectors also:
- Connect other people frequently and for their benefit, not for self-interest
- Like people and enjoy meeting new people; they seemingly collect acquaintances
- Display listening and caring by remembering information about people
- Seek to help others in various ways
I used to think of Connectors as part of an exclusive club, where those members knew everyone and how to get things done. They were on this inside. I was on the outside. That never feels good. But what I realized is that anyone can be a Connector! Anyone can infuse the attributes and behaviors into their interactions and if you are not born a Connector, become one.
How? Three tips:
- Have a Clear Vision. Connectors know what they are working on and are willing to ask for help to accomplish it. Your challenge: Write down one goal you have, make it concrete, measurable and specific. Then think about a person who can help you accomplish that goal. Perhaps they have the information, knowledge or connections to get you closer. Then ask.
- Give First. Connector’s have a generous spirit and give without the expectation of something in return. Your challenge: Think about someone you want to create a stronger connection with. Then think about what they are working on. If you don’t know, simply ask. Now figure out what information you can share, introduction you can make, or advice you can give to help them get closer to their goal.
- Be Conscientious. Connectors do what they say they are going to do. They follow up and follow through. That is how you build trust, credibility and goodwill. As a result, they can get overextended and need to be selective about what they agree to and be willing to say no. Your challenge: Think about all you have on your plate and if there is something you can say no to. When you say no, seek to include a way for them to find help elsewhere or get a yes down the road.
We use the word Influencer a lot, but really Influencers are Connectors. They are Connectors to products, people, services, and information. They have the power to move trends and shift culture. Connectors make things happen faster, easier and often with a better result. They have the power to bridge gaps in society and make ALL voices feel heard. That’s a Connector and that’s why you want to be one.
This article was originally posted at michelletillislederman.com
Michelle Tillis Lederman, CSP is a faculty member of LEADERSHIP USA.