Whether it’s a digital connection or a real connection, every day billions of people connect for the first time. In the business world, making connections is important and will directly shape our career path and successes. Think about a world where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak never met! The current blog post you are reading may not have even existed considering I’m using a Mac to write it on. What if the founding fathers of the United States of America never connected with each other? What would the world be like? How do you think these history makers first connected?
The interesting thing is that in today’s world, more and more of these first time connections are happening through social media or other digital forms. This occurrence is growing at a rapid pace with the adoption of smartphones everywhere which is raising some interesting questions and concerns about how successful the use of technology really is for creating real and personal connections. There are so many people who will accept anyone that tries to connect with them on a social network, without even a thought towards establishing a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, if you don’t accept their request, then you will never even have the opportunity to get to know the person. But it comes down to your real intentions and why you are trying to connect with them in the first place. Are you more interested in building your numbers on social media or actually building a connection that matters? More to the point, does “friending” someone on Facebook or gaining another follower on twitter actually constitute a first time connection? I say this because I believe heavily in the potential of digital connections, but are we truly connecting? What is the best way to make a digital connection more personal and reap more of a benefit than just another number added to your followers? A good first step might be to to look at the profile of the person who just friended you. When looking at their profile, find things that you have in common such as a hobby, a person, or a favorite sports team. Take the time to write them a personal message thanking them for the connection and point out what you have in common. Basically, just start a dialog.
You may find that with some of these people, that you don’t have much in common and there is no real connection there, but be civil and don’t kill the connection entirely, you never know who they know and what is said online stays online. If you feel you really connect with the person you should send them your digital business card like a One Card™ so they have all of your information. Sharing your One Card™ is just a way of saying that you want to get to know them better, which is the next step towards building a real connection.
To take it a step further I would recommend either having a Skype chat or meeting them in person if possible to further see who this person is. There are so many types of collaborative tools you could use to connect. It is one thing to have good conversation over chat, it is another to look at the person face to face and see who they really are.
If they have checked out and you feel they are a good connection, put them on a list that you look at and remember to reach out and connect with them from time to time. This connection could be as simple as sending an article based on the things you have in common or commenting on a post they share. Digital connections are becoming a normal thing, so make sure not to waste these opportunities! I would also highly recommend getting your own One Card™ if you do not have one. Digital business cards like the One Card™ are going to become the norm in world where digital connections are continuing to gain momentum. So when you are connecting just realize the opportunities are endless!