Developing deep connections goes beyond adding thousands of people to your network and pushing your business cards into the hands of strangers. Deep connections are the lifeblood of business and make work satisfying. In this post, I will discuss how to develop deep connections in your professional and personal network and what benefits you can expect from doing this important work.
What is a deep connection?
Connecting with another person is about going beyond the surface to talk about what really matters to each other. For example, imagine a salesperson and an engineer paired together for a team-building exercise. At first glance, these two have nothing in common and you might expect them to have trouble getting through a 10-minute activity. But if each person remains curious, they’ll dig deeper to find commonalities; perhaps they both have a dysfunctional sibling or they’re both passionate about preserving marine habitats. This is how people who seem to have nothing in common can become great friends and colleagues.
The personal benefits of connecting deeply with another person
Connections are the lifeblood of communities in both our personal and professional domains.
When we connect deeply with another person, we:
- Experience a sense of serenity.
- Feel safe enough to share stories we need to get off our chests.
- Are more likely to give and get trust.
- Put the other person at ease so she feels comfortable sharing her stories.
- Build meaningful and long-lasting relationships.
Connecting deeply helps both people and I recommend never settling for superficial conversations and connections again!
The business benefits of connecting deeply with another person
Cultivating relationships for the sole purpose of landing business is the wrong approach and may leave other people wary of you. But cultivating deep connections tends to have a positive effect on business. My business has grown significantly because of the deep connections I’ve developed with clients, peers at my women’s club and strangers who have become friends.
Developing deep connections can also pave the way for bringing sponsors and mentors into your life.
How to develop deep connections
The best way to develop deep connections is by having in-depth conversations that help you get to know one another.
Start by being brave and inviting the other person for coffee. You can simply say, “Let’s have coffee and get to know each other.”
Here are some simple ways to have conversations that go beyond the surface:
- Ask deeper questions. For example, “Oh, that’s interesting. What led you to that decision?”
- Explore the details. For example, “When you say <something they said>, what exactly do you mean?”
- Be a voice of reason, when necessary. For example, “Where are you going with this?” or “This feeling you mentioned, where is it coming from?”
- Give support and encouragement, not unsolicited advice. For example, “It sounds like this has been difficult, but I see you’re trying your best and I know you’ll figure it all out.”
- Take your armour off so you too can be vulnerable and express your authentic self.
All this takes time. In business, people won’t work with just any stranger with a business card. If you really want to work with someone, start developing the relationship by being genuine and curious about the other person.
Even if you don’t do business with someone you’ve got a deep connection with, it still feels good to get to know a new and interesting person. Plus, it’s always best to give before we get.
We won’t connect deeply with everyone we meet—and you can expect to (figuratively) kiss a few frogs before finding a prince—but that’s fine. Just move on when it’s not working and remain curious about whomever you’re talking to.
I promise you’ll enjoy deep connections much more than superficial ones! Start today and see the possibilities that deep connections hold for you.
Hi, I’m Vicki Bradley, an executive coach in Toronto and the Founder and CEO of Women in Leadership Empowered.
I work with women pursuing success in executive leadership roles and the presidents and CEOs who understand that strong businesses are built with strong, diverse leadership.
WIL Empowered is a year-long program where we use all four aspects of leadership development: Coaching, Networking, Peer to peer mentorship and skills development. Our mission is to help women develop the skills, motivation and accountability required to succeed in their business and personal lives.
Take our five-minute leadership quiz to discover where your leadership skills are now and where you’d like them to be this time next year.
To discover more about the WIL Empowered program, visit the website.