We’ve heard from countless people and read many articles on how personal branding is important in your success as an individual. It actually became a buzzword in recent times.
Part of the phenomenon’s equation is building a solid network of relationships which will help you grow. But 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 has worked for me with regards to how I have met amazing people who didn’t even know me from a bar of soap (won’t use another cliché, I promise).
Authenticity (and sincerity)
I have found myself e-mailing people cold, or even better, or worse (depending on how you look at it), sending them a tweet and requesting them to Direct Message me their email address. Doing it this way, I admit, presents a high 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.
During my meeting with a potential mentor early in the year 2014, I asked her why she had agreed to meet with me after the email address request I made to her via Twitter. She told me she felt I was genuine and sincere and it shone through as we communicated on 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. Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.
Alright, I will admit, there is not a special anything I do in my attempts to connect with people. Certainly not that grandiose — it is merely me being myself. I feel authenticity cannot be overstated. Be authentic, because authenticity resonates with and moves people. If you are, no one can duplicate who you are and how you do things.
Human beings are fascinating creatures that 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.