In this world of ubiquitous technology, many people find it challenging to develop authentic relationships with others. It’s never been a problem for me. People call me ‘social butterfly’ for a reason.
I’m a connector.
I’m good at meeting and interacting with people from all walks of life – and I mean all walks of life. I love making meaningful connections in real life and via social media.
6 Steps to Developing Real Relationships in a Digital World
Connecting in the digital world requires that you do six key things. Do these six things and you can develop a business relationship or collaboration with anyone. And I mean anyone – rich or poor, beautiful or not, smart or dumb, famous or inconsequential, mean or nice.
- Only try if you really care. If you truly care about making the connection, it will work. You must have an authentic interest in the person. Don’t just pursue the connection because this person is an influencer in your field, or because all the “cool kids” kiss up to him or her. If you don’t really care, don’t waste your energy.
- Persist in your quest. I jokingly call it stalking, but I don’t mean it in the criminal sense. Persist in your pursuit, but don’t constantly try to engage the person or (for God’s sake) beg him to follow you on social media. Just be where he is. Retweet, reshare, and comment on his blogs and other digital real estate. Don’t necessarily engage directly. Let the person come to you. It will happen, eventually. Persistence and patience wins the day here.
- Help people without expecting reciprocity. Everyone needs some kind of help. Give it to them. When I was starting out as an independent journalist and content creator, I helped many people free of charge in between assignments and related projects. I once developed and launched a national nonprofit campaign at no charge. I never expected anything in return, I just did it. Out of that gesture came one of my biggest clients and my business continues to grow because of it. Maybe you can’t give them the help they actually need, but know someone who can. Connect them with that person. This will go a long way toward building the relationship.
- Pay attention! For real. How will you ever discern what people really need in the way of help if you don’t pay attention? You’ve got to listen to them and give them all your attention when they’re communicating with you. Learn everything you can about them. That’s what you do when you really care about someone, isn’t it?
- Be a true friend. How did you get the face-to-face friends you already have? By letting them see the real you. By offering support or other help when they needed you. By creating memories together. It’s as simple as that.
- The little things matter most. Remember special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. Send small surprise gifts like a book about something that interests the person. Mail hand-written notes and Christmas cards. Remember kids’ and spouses names and activities they enjoy. By remembering, you become unforgettable.
You can make meaningful connections in the digital world. It all boils down to truly caring about your fellow human. Spend time figuring out how you can help each person you meet. It’s energy well spent and will definitely bend the arc of the universe in your favor.
How do you engage to develop relationships in the digital world?