How Do We Build Connections

View of wooden bridge with small boy seated on fence

Here come Andy and Opie…

The lack of punctuation in the headline is intentional. Sometimes I do that to remind myself that I am asking a question and making a statement. Think of it as being similar to a play with multiple acts.

Act One:

Why Josh.

Act Two:

Why Josh?

Act Three:

Why Josh!

It doesn’t take much to change the meaning and direction of a few words. It is one of the things that fascinates me about language.

How Do We Build Connections

On a professional level I think about this daily. What do my clients need to do to reach out and touch someone. How do they do more than just broadcast news and information about whatever products/services they offer.

The simple answer is always the same. They tell their story in a way that helps their customers and prospective customers understand what they offer and how it will help them.

But the rub comes down to what methods to use and how to it in a way that makes people buy what they are selling.

Those last five words are sometimes the fly in the ointment because when I say it like that people sometimes push back and tell me they want to be authentic and that this particular expression makes it seem…less authentic.

Honest, Open and Transparent

We live in funny times in which we like to demand that people live honest, open and transparent lives but complain if someone tries to hold our feet to the fire. We live during times when people work hard to catch politicians and brands doing things that aren’t any of those three.

One of the challenges of being in the public eye is that when you do slip up you can find yourself the object of a piranha like feeding frenzy.

And under some circumstances you can be the victim of a modern day witch hunt. Think about what happened after the Boston Marathon and the frenzied approach that was taken to identify the terrorists in pictures.

Building Connections Online

Social media is a big contradiction. It has made the world into a global village and in some ways it has made it a colder and lonelier place.

I think I am more cognizant now of how easy it is to feel alone in a crowd. I went to Mayfest today and I had a great time. But when I wasn’t with my colleagues it was very apparent to me that there were lots of groups of people around and that I was alone.

It is not something I think about real often. I eat almost all of my meals by myself and spend most of my time outside of work by myself. It is a temporary thing and mostly my choice, but from time to time you notice.

Social media can build connections between people but if you aren’t good at it you can create a situation in which it feels like you are among the few people who don’t know anyone. Or if you are new to a blog or online community you can feel like the person who is standing on the outside looking in.

The best way to break through this feeling is to start commenting and interacting with people, but that is not always easy. Some people are shy and don’t want to be the only one speaking and others aren’t quite sure how to insert themselves into the conversation.

Building Connections With Bloggers

I haven’t had as much time to visit and interact with other bloggers as I would like to. There has been a lot going on and I have had to focus my attention elsewhere.

In concept it is not a huge problem because every week I see growth here. The pageviews continues to go up, subscriptions have increased and overall more people are paying attention to and reading than ever before.

But I wonder about this. I wonder because part of rhythm and flow of the blogosphere comes from comments and writing. Part of how you grow a blog is by building your engagement on the blog and off.

So if you aren’t visiting other blogs you might find some additional challenges and missed opportunities.

There is untapped gold in a good commenting crew. Part of the development comes from spending time building connections elsewhere.

And those are my thoughts on a Saturday night.

What say you?

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  1. Tim Bonner May 6, 2013 at 3:24 am

    Online is the only way for me to build most of my connections whilst I’m at home and I really enjoy it.

    It’s a pity there aren’t any other bloggers (that I know of) that live anywhere close to me. There’s a post in itself because I’m sure they are out there somewhere!

    For some reason, maybe I’m a little shy, I’ve not done the Skype or Google+ hangout thing yet. I’d like to soon though.

    I keep getting invited but finding an opportune moment where my kids don’t pop up in the background may prove quite tough!

  2. Heather Buen - Dallas Single Mom May 5, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Hello Josh! I’m a first time follower to your blog as I saw a link to your site from @brucesallan – #dadchat

    You make such a great point! I’m a rabid people-connector over at my blog. I’m very good at building connections because I used to be in outside sales for large corporations. A lot of what you do is asking questions and figuring out a person’s sweet spot. I also take a lot of my family’s personality (I was born and raised in Hawaii) to make people feel welcome. Where ever I go I am apt to make a new acquaintance or use the tools necessary to help people open up. I found the best way to connect is to be observant, be inquisitive and ask questions. People want to be helpful and they want to connect.

    • Josh May 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      Hi Heather,

      Good sales people are always good at building connections. It comes with the territory. I spent a lot of years selling, so I am familiar.

      I think you are spot on about asking questions, listening and helping. Those things go a long way.

      Which island did you grow up on?

  3. Julie Barrett May 5, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Phone calls, hangouts, and irl meetings are making it a smaller place. Someday I want to have a house party and bring in all my blogging friends. Many people DO come through Florida and I can see them if I can get close enough. An amazing number of intuitives live here ot are moving here, it’s weird…but it’s a big state. It’s like I’ve been sitting here since 1995 just waiting for them.

    We get time when we get time, and I think even if it’s months in between our friends don’t care because they’re kind and loving people and they just welcome us back like they would if we lived in the same place. It’s always fun to welcome back an old friend.

    • Josh May 5, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      Hi Julie,

      Everyone can come play with the goat–the real star of the blog. 😉 So all the intuitives are moving to Florida, sounds like the ‘gators and pythons have more influence than we knew. 😉

      Real friends are the people where time between calls and visits don’t matter.

  4. Kaarina Dillabough May 5, 2013 at 5:22 am

    JJ, your comment over on Vidya’s fb photo made me LOL! She certainly influenced me, but not to that extent, haha!

    This online world is a wild and crazy ride. Sometimes it feels like a huge party with everyone playing: at other times, it’s like watching from outside in. I do believe that the more we connect IRL (in person/ video Skype/ online video chats), the more “real” the connections become. And although I haven’t been around to comment as much as I’d like on all the sites I’d like to, I’ve come to accept that it will be what I can manage. But yes…we do love comments, right? Cheers! Kaarina

    • Josh May 5, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      Hi Kaarina,

      Glad I made you two smile.

      You are right the online world is like Mr. Toad’s wild ride and I have felt all that you describe.

      Hangouts, Skype and in person meetings have made a significant difference to me too. It is where you really begin to learn who the writer and the real person is/are.

      Overall it can be a wonderful thing, I think we get out what we put into it.

  5. Vidya Sury May 4, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    You’re right on this one, Josh (though you are way off on my influence over Kaarina :D)

    I enjoy the privilege of knowing a number of my blogger friends online in real life. Nothing like collaboration and encouraging each other.

    Cheers! Vidya

    • Josh May 5, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      Hi Vidya,

      I don’t know, the ‘smaller’ people sometimes have larger influence on others. 😉

      It is always fun to meet fellow bloggers in person.

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