Aristotle, the great Greek Philosopher, once said that man is a social animal by nature. Therefore, man cannot survive alone. This means that it is innate for humans to associate themselves with others. They need to enter into relationships with other people for survival in all aspects of life. In today’s world, this can be likened to personal or professional connection building which is important for your career growth. And also your personal life.
However, with the advent of technology, it has become increasingly hard to build connections with people. Most people are too preoccupied with their digital devices. Thereby, they miss chances to build healthy connections with people. When this happens, your connection-building skills also dwindle and this might affect your career growth.
Don’t get me wrong! I that technology has made human communication easier than ever! However, this doesn’t mean that technology directly helps us cultivate a deep connection with others.
Therefore, in this article, we will share valuable tips on how to build healthy connections of all kinds with people.
What do we mean by building connections?
Building connections means more than just saying “hi” or chatting with someone about the weather. What exactly does building connections mean? Well! it is a process of bonding with another person either on a personal or a professional level. It involves establishing a committed relationship with another individual. While most people focus on building professional connections, personal connections can also influence your career growth and mental health.
While building a connection is different from networking, connections are formed through networking. According to Investopedia, networking is the exchange of information and ideas among people with a common profession or special interest. This is usually in an informal social setting. Therefore, to build meaningful connections with others, you must first network successfully to find a common ground.
Although you may not realize it, building connections, in its early stage, might involve some kind of exchange. For example, while networking, you might exchange information and even contact details. In later stages, a connection you have built becomes mutually beneficial. Once a healthy connection has been formed, you can receive the help that will aid your career growth from others. It will also reciprocate when they are in need and you are in a position to help.
So, we can say that connection building is about establishing relationships based on mutual interests. This includes exchanging valuable elements and helping each other to reach a goal.
The Importance of Building Connections with Others
Since man is a social animal, it is impossible to survive alone in all aspects of life. This alone makes connection building very important. Connection building can influence your personal and professional life. It is dangerous to be isolated from the rest of the world. This is because you can get lonely and loneliness has the same adverse effects as obesity or smoking have on your health.
Apart from that, when you isolate yourself, you end up limiting yourself and your chances. After all, life is a tough battle, and you need support to win!
According to a survey carried out across several countries of the world… about 33 percent of adults have experienced feelings of loneliness globally. However, personal connection building can help to eradicate loneliness and promote good health. Since you need to be in good health to pursue a career, connection building is very important.
On the other hand, Professional connection building is important for your career growth. And it ensures that you climb up the ladder of success faster. Professional connections are important because they give you a chance at solving whatever problems you are facing. If you find yourself in a difficult situation, you will have a network of individuals that you have formed through connection building. This can provide support & solutions or guide you through your problems.
This alone can make you indispensable in your workplace. Even if you lose your job, you can rely on your network of individuals to notify you of new openings. Or they can connect you with other professionals in your field. These and many more are the importance of connection building.
Benefits of Building Connections with Others
Apart from providing you with a network, you can rely on, connection building comes with a lot of benefits. Some of the benefits that you can derive from building healthy and meaningful connections with others include:
New clients and referrals
While networking, you might meet potential clients, and the only way to win them over is through connection building. Once you have created a bond between yourself and potential customers, it becomes easier for people to trust your services. Therefore, connection building can inspire loyalty which can increase your client base.
The bond you share with clients can make them recommend you to their friends and family. Thereby, giving you new referrals. As result, this helps grow your business and success.
Steady job/business opportunities
Although your network of opportunities can provide you with job security. It can also provide you with a steady flow of job opportunities. Building professional connections are one of the most effective ways to get notified of job opportunities you might be interested in.
If you have formed a professional bond with people, you are likely to hear about different juicy job opportunities. This includes the ones that are not publicized. Your professional connection can also help you to secure these jobs by serving as references for you or providing recommendations.
Investments and Partnerships
Trust is one of the results of building healthy and meaningful connections with others. If you have developed a professional connection with someone, they can choose to invest in your business/career. This can even encourage partnerships with you. Connection building provides you with a vast network of individuals that give you a lot of options.
Also, these investments or partnership offers may not come directly from your connections. It might come from referrals that your connections recommended you to. This would further contribute to the growth of your business/career.
Mentorship and Sponsorship
Building connections with already established professionals in your field is a brilliant step toward becoming successful. This allows you to learn from their experience and mistakes to improve yourself and avoid making the same mistakes they made. Without an existing connection, these things might never be shared with you.
A connection that is mentoring you will be able to vouch for you and might be willing to become your sponsor. You can also gain access to your connection’s connections and this will increase the number of opportunities available to you.
Long-lasting friendships and business alliances
There are different types of connections, however, they are all beneficial to have. While professional connections might seem to be all about business, you can also share your interests and passions. Since networking helps you to find a common ground… the individual you are connecting with is sure to have things in common with you. This might prove a good ground for true friendship.
Your personal life and your professional life are related as one cannot do well without the other. Therefore, professional connections can lead to bonding on a personal level for great friendship. Also, professional connections can lead to permanent business alliances.
How to build connections: 10 effective tips
The following are 10 effective tips on how to build connections with other people:
While humans are social by nature, the way we interact with other people is different. If you are an introvert, you might find it difficult to socialize or interact with new people. However, to build healthy connections, you must be social and learn how to relate with others. If you want to improve your social life, you can get a new hobby or attend events. These do not have to be related to your job.
You can also learn how to hold proper conversations by often engaging in small talk with people around you… people you are already comfortable with.
Attend professional events
You are more likely to meet a professional in your field at an event! Than you are to meet such an individual in the bar. Professional events bring together the crème de la crème of the industry. Therefore, they provide you the chance of connecting with a wide range of professionals in your field.
Also, professional events provide you with the opportunity to build meaningful connections with your peers and seniors in your field. Therefore, you have to attend professional events from time to time to build strong bonds between yourself and other like-minded people.
Look for common ground
Before building connections with others, you must first network in the early stages. Networking involves interaction with other people to exchange contacts and information. So try to chat with people involved and try to find a common ground over which you can form bonds.
While this might help you to build personal relationships, it is also useful for professional bonding. Finding a common ground between yourself and the person you intend to connect with is a good way to start.
A connection is supposed to be a mutually beneficial system that profits you and whoever you are connected to. Connections are meant to be symbiotic. Therefore, you also have to add value to give out in return. If your connections are willing to solve your problems for you, you should also be willing to do the same.
Refusing to reciprocate the benefits of a connection can lead to the break up of such a bond. It would make one party feel exploited and used. However, on the other hand, a symbiotic connection would continue to grow stronger and can even lead to a long-lasting friendship.
Create a social media presence
Social media is neither good nor bad. It depends on the person using it and what it is used for. Social media is one of the ways through which you can connect with other professionals around the world. You can do this by following people you wish to connect with and engaging with them online.
You can share resources and build bonds over social media. You can also share your social media handles or website for more people to connect with you on a professional level.
Follow-up with important contacts
After the early stages of building a connection, you need to follow up with the contacts that you consider important. These might include a potential client, a professional in your field, etc. Following up with important contacts is a good signal that you care about them. This is a good foundation on which a healthy and meaningful connection can be built.
There are several ways through which you can follow up with important contacts. This includes sending cards, texts, emails, or even calling to say hello. This is a good way to build connections and it shows that you consider such people important.
Always show gratitude
No matter how small the favor might seem! Always make it a point of duty to show that you are grateful through gratitude. This action makes people feel valued and honored and it makes them want to do more for you. And this can strengthen your connection.
There are different ways through which you can show gratitude. You can send it through mail, text, gifts, or even say it in person. Showing gratitude for favors is an indication that you value the person. This can inspire the person to tighten the bond between the two of you.
It is normal for people to want to build connections within their social status. As a charismatic person, you will appear confident and communicate clearly. This will make you endearing to people while networking. They would like to associate with you simply because you look like you know what you are doing.
Your charisma can also help them gain more confidence during conversations. This makes communication and networking easier. Charisma can help you build meaningful professional connections that would be beneficial to your career growth.
Empathy is a good way through which you can build connections on a personal level. It involves relating with people by putting yourself in their shoes and seeing things from their perspective. When people see that someone else understands them perfectly, a stronger bond is formed. And this is good for connection building on a personal level.
Once you can see things from their perspectives, it will be easier to help in whatever way you can. You will be able to proffer solutions as you deem fit. This is sure to strengthen the connections you might have been trying to build.
Host meetings and events
While this option might sound like a nightmare if you are an introvert! It is one of the most effective ways to build connections on personal and professional levels. Hosting meetings or events is a sure way to meet a lot of people and form meaningful bonds with some of them. Being in charge of planning and hosting a professional event puts you at the helm of affairs. So everybody interested in the event or meeting has to go through you.
People might have to contact you before or after the event with questions or suggestions and this allows you to build a personal or professional connection with them. Hosting professional events and meetings in your field allows you to meet with other professionals in the field and opens up several opportunities for you. It can also connect you with potential clients.
Final thoughts on connection building
Our survival as humans depends on our relationship with other people. Therefore, we must build healthy and meaningful connections with people for personal and professional growth. Our ability to build strong connections with others is paramount to our health and well-being, and career. Therefore, connection building is very important and it comes with its benefits.
Some components make up connection building. These components ensure that your connection with others benefits both parties. One such component is commonality. A healthy and meaningful connection can only thrive where both parties share common interests. Another component is reciprocity. Healthy connections are transactional and symbiotic because both parties benefit from the relationship.
Consistency is another component of connection building. This encompasses the predictability of the reaction of either party to various situations. The connection bond gets stronger when both parties can predict the other’s reactions. Healthy and meaningful connections should always be built on genuine bonds because it could always lead to long-lasting friendships.
Connection building is a skill that everyone must possess regardless of their social inclination.