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Be a Master Connector in a Virtual World


Article by Keri Stanley

Photography by Nikki Rogers

Are you a master at creating authentic, deep connections?

As the world changes rapidly to a virtual life, it can feel like a struggle to create REAL connections when distance seems to separate us across the planet. However, there are infinite opportunities to create deep connection in an instant anywhere in the world that bring us together no matter how far apart we live, and even in the same house.

This is one of the greatest skills you can learn that is a game-changer in the leadership of your life and your career. 

Honestly, the majority of people struggle with this in general and even hide behind the virtual world for that very reason.

It shows up in the relationships we build in every area of life because the way we do one thing is the way we do every thing!

I've been talking to several clients over the last couple of days about the power of relationship equity—there's a BIG difference for those who have it and those who don't. 

Here are some questions to think about:

  • The person you email every single day for help with a project—do you know if they have a family?
  • Your boss—do you know what keeps her up at night? 
  • Your kids—do you know their favorite song right now? 
  • The coworker that is on your team—do you know their eye color? 
  • And if someone is having a bad day—do you take a moment to ask them if they are OK only to find out their spouse just lost their job and they have no idea what it's going to mean for their family? 

The art of mastering deep connections begins with seeing the heart through the eyes of the people we interact with on the daily and truly listening to what's not being said as much as what is.

We are not just meant to pass through life like an interstate of cars flying by. Many time,s our choice of creating deep connection creates a lifeline for another human soul to feel seen, safe and heard. Which is the greatest gift we can give another human being on the planet—our full, undivided attention. 

Maybe for the first time in years. 

So now in a virtual world, how do you make that happen when it's critically important to build relationships?

Here are 10 quick ideas you can try out today:

1. Pick up the phone.

Say hello in the middle of the day to a friend you haven't talked to in awhile and find out what's new in her life

2. Have a dance party with your team.

Jump on a Zoom Meeting to connect with your team and have a dance party during brainstorming to boost creativity and the energy

3. Go on a virtual date.

Connect eye to eye and have a REAL conversation to discover even quicker if it's a person you want to "see" again. This actually can save you both time.

4. Gather a group of girlfriends from around the globe.

Have a wine night on skype or zoom while each one takes turns filling you in on their life while the others are fully listening and tuning in for each other.

5. Ask questions that inspire.

Provoke deeper responses and actually fully listen to the response, rather than playing the surface connection game. Let's be honest; many of us go through the routine of connecting without actually connecting. If you never have a deep conversation with someone, you actually never really know them.

6. Put down all other work when you are on a call or virtual video.

EVERYONE knows when you are not fully present because they can feel it—even through a phone call when you are not even seen. You've been on the other end of the line when suddenly you could feel the energy change and the person you're talking to is no longer listening and focused on doing something else. Be the person who is fully present. Others will notice.

7. Build NEW relationships.

The world is a BIG place, but with technology it's small! We can be in another's virtual living room in a matter of seconds, so what are you waiting for? I have friends all over the globe, and we are constantly connecting with new people and asking how we can serve and support. Don't miss out on the opportunity of all the amazing people that are out there who know other amazing people!

8. Use your voice.

Did you know LinkedIn now has voice messaging? I can't tell you how many people I've had the honor of brightening their day to have a cheerful voice saying hello in their message center. In a way they never knew existed. Voice is much more connecting than text, and almost every application lets you use it! So pop into someone's message box and leave them a message simply to say hello.

9. Send a note of appreciation.

Whether it's old fashioned snail mail, a voice memo, a text, or picking up the phone....there is nothing that will brighten your day more than giving and/or receiving a message that is a thank you and specifically a heartfelt message that explains why. Who are you thankful for in your world right now? Take a minute to send them a message and tell them. (Be prepared for the question of asking if you are ok...which is a clear indicator that we do not connect with those we love in our lives enough. So take a minute today to appreciate a person you makes your life easier).

10. Last, but not least—if you are a leader, get to know your people!

Know their families, know about their kids, know their dreams, know their likes and dislikes, know what motivates them, and know what they care about. All of this can be done on the phone or over a virtual coffee. Then act on it. Send them a surprise treat as a thank you, show up in their inbox with a resource that moves them towards their dream, and pay attention when they aren't themselves and show you noticed and you care. It will be a differentiator in the relationship you build with them.

Be unique. Be the difference. Be present. Be a connector. 

The opportunities are endless. And you can be a game-changer in the way you lead right now simply by adopting these strategies and becoming a master connector.