Don’t Get Stuck in the Information Trap!
Seven Easy Ways to Connect with Others Online and Off
"I saw your post on Facebook.” I remember the first time my dad said it. I half-smiled and thought to myself, "Why did I ever accept his friend request? Quick, I need to create a parent filter.” And then he continued to do it... on the phone, in person, at family dinners, everywhere.
Why? My dad wanted a connection. The old man was reminding this communication expert to
practice the fundamentals of effective personal and professional communication, through information and connection. These two elements allow us to develop meaningful conversations, be direct and personal, and share opposing opinions without creating conflict. Yet, often we rely on information as our only objective. I had fallen into the information trap. I had become a personal broadcaster: just a content provider of information without any connection. Sound familiar? Don’t worry. Here are some solid strategies to create better connections with one another online and off.
On social media:
1. Validate that you “hear” someone, which sometimes requires more than a “like.”
Think of it as digital active listening.
2. If there's an online debate, don’t make it personal and bring someone down.
It accomplishes nothing.
3. If someone posts a request for support, call them. The sound of your voice is powerful.
4. Be real. “Likes” are valuable for a spokesperson, but we as individuals deserve more.
Offline, on the phone, or virtual happy hour:
5. If you’re nervous about reconnecting with someone you haven't spoken to in a while or
meeting someone new, prepare a story in advance about a recent experience.
People will listen.
6. Get personal. Ask others about their interests, hobbies and backgrounds.
7. Designate you and me “spotlight time” (about 30 minutes each) the next time you meet
up with a friend.
And of course, as in the case of my dad, share your feelings when asked about some sort of information, experience, or event you share online or in person. It takes some extra work, but the payoff is you aren’t just talking, you are connecting.