How I connect with people

Dewet Photography

In the last few years, we’ve heard from countless people and read many an article — oh, wait, is it not called a blog these days? — on how personal branding is important in your success as an individual. It actually became quite a large buzzword in recent history.

And like many things that involve human beings, part of the phenomenon’s equation is building a solid network of relationships which will might help you grow in some way.

But then, how do you connect with people, or, put another way, how do you make them trust you and let you in their space?

I thought I should share my experience and what’s worked for me in connection to how I’ve met cool people, who often didn’t even know me from a bar of soap. (Okay, okay, I won’t use another cliché, promise.)

Authenticity (and sincerity)

I’ve found myself e-mailing people cold, or even better, or worse (depending on how you look at it), sending them a tweet and asking them to Direct Message me their email address. Doing it this way, I admit, presents a great chance that my reaching out will fail, because the person knows nothing about me

I keep getting pleasantly surprised, though, when my recipients respond warmly and honour my humble requests of their time. Or money. (Okay, okay. It’s a joke.) (Uhmmm, not really, because I am in the business of language and strategy.) (L.O.L)

During my meeting with a potential mentor early in the year 2014, I asked her why she’d agreed to meet with me after the email address request I made to her through Twitter. She told me she felt I was genuine and sincere and it shone through as we spoke via social media. And that my timeline let her in on a few things about me, and those impressions matched. Looking at how I fashioned the email I eventually sent her.

My being a total stranger didn’t bother her much. We’re still close even today and she has played a pivotal role in helping me spur on my personal growth.

What I describe above, interestingly, happens more with people who’ve never seen me before.

Does this mean we can sense somebody who has good or bad intentions even if they are behind a screen?

Anyway, this reminds me of a book I recently read which discusses the minutiae of snap judgements and instincts — making decisions with the least amount of information, type o’ thing. Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Blink. The Power of Thinking Without Thinking’.

Alright, I’ll admit, there isn’t a special anything I do in my attempts to connect with people. Certainly not that grandiose. It’s only me being myself; I feel authenticity cannot be over-stated. Be authentic, because authenticity resonates with and moves people.

If you are uniquely you, no one can duplicate you and how you do things.

Human beings are fascinating creatures who are inherently built to connect. Just like I highlighted in one of my posts.

So, taking the time to learn a thing or ten about connecting with people isn’t a waste of time at all.