I believe fervently in communication. Real communication. The kind of communication where two people connect in a real way, whatever level they are meeting on.
I believe in communication as a pathway to fulfillment in my day, and in your day. We are not islands, it is said, and yet we so often act as though we are, which just drains our days and our interactions of meaning.
It doesn’t take much, and the rewards are enormous.
I just completed a 7-month management consulting job with a lovely and intelligent man who was putting on a large annual legal conference. One of my tasks was to take the Sponsorship process in hand and uplevel it. He told me recently that as he watched me interact by email – and phone – with people I had never met, but would quickly become friendly with, he learned for the first time that “personal connection could be formed and maintained through email”.
This kind of connection comes from a few easy-to-do actions.
- Write “thank you”. And mean it.
- Deviate from the professional. I’m not talking about sharing your secrets, but a, “You live in Florida? Wow. It’s snowing here. Gorgeous, but definitely not warm!” is going to personalize what you do, bring you that wonderful sense of having some space in your day to be real, open the door to other communication that can bring all kinds of information and business possibilities you will not have foreseen, and it is going to make you memorable to the person you are connecting with virtually.
- Don’t push. When you are writing to someone you haven’t connected with in a while, take it easy! It’s easy to get all stressed out and push too hard, particularly when you’re talking sales or marketing. But resist the urge the best you can, and give your contact the equivalent of a hand-wave across the “backyard fence”. An invitation is much easier to respond to than a demand.
You can use these as “tactics”, but the true power comes when you really understand that what you are doing is creating meaning in both your lives. While the task at hand will go away (in this one case of mine, dealing with sponsorships), whatever connections and genuine human interactions you have formed will not. Those inform your life with meaning, with a reason to get up every morning and invest yourself in what you are doing.
Particularly if you work on any kind of repetitious task, bringing something of magic and fascination into the mix is well worth your time and energy.