Connecting with Others: Give More, Get More
Wednesday, February 12, 2020 8:00 AM
What comes to mind when you think of February? For many, the first thought is Valentine’s Day — a holiday devoted to letting people know you love and care about them. Traditionally associated with romance, flowers, candy, red hearts, and the exchange of cards with heartfelt messages, this holiday has spurred me to think about how we can demonstrate our care for others on a more regular basis.
Often, I am called in to help leaders reflect on how they can better communicate with others. While heartfelt communication is extremely important for people in leadership roles, it is something that everyone should make a priority in their day-to-day lives. This blog post is focused on how all of us can better connect — not only with the people we care about, but with everyone we encounter — in a meaningful way.
Below, you’ll find a few recommendations to help you create better connections.
- Be present. Have you ever felt you’re interacting with the distracted version of someone? You may be speaking about something important to you, only to get a head nod and a few noises of acknowledgement before the conversation is over. Don’t be THAT person! Whether speaking with family members about their day or colleagues about a project, be present in your discussions. Lean into what others are saying and show interest by asking questions. Oftentimes, putting the emphasis on the other person instead of yourself creates a lasting impression and powerful connection.
- Speak from your heart. Our heart is home to our truths. Tap into how you feel about others and allow that to come out through words. It’s never wrong to let loved ones or colleagues know how grateful you are or how they enrich your life. Own your emotions, turn them into words, and speak them with a genuineness that is undeniable. Anything that can be felt can be spoken.
- Make connecting a priority. It’s easy to become busy and focus on completing tasks, attending meetings, and hitting deadlines. While all these are important, our “heads-down” approach to life often gets in the way of taking time to convey our care and appreciation for others both at home and in the office. Dedicate time in your day to say hi, ask how someone is doing, and let others know you appreciate them. You may need to block 15 minutes of time on your calendar to accomplish it, but the reward — to others and yourself — will be immense.
- Don’t delay. Often, we take for granted that the people we care about will be around or that they know how we feel, which can lead us to delay expressing our feelings. Make every day an opportunity to share with at least one person what that individual means to you personally or professionally. Life can take us by surprise so give freely, connect now, and cherish the rewards.
Make a Conscious Effort
The connections we have with others are a gift, and it doesn’t happen by accident. We all get to choose how we create and enhance our connections. The people in my life who excel at this have done so because they always make a conscious effort to connect with others. I am grateful for each person who has been a shining example to me, and I hope that each of you find opportunities to be an example for those around you. Here’s wishing you better connections this Valentine’s Day and beyond!
This post is dedicated to Lisa Peltier, a beloved member of the BSM family who recently passed. Lisa was a shining example of prioritizing connections with others every day. In memory of her giving spirit, feel free to donate to the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center on Lisa’s behalf.