7 Things Connectors Know
What exactly is a connector?
A connector is someone who invests in others. It’s that simple.
But it manifests in so many ways. And almost all of them aren’t mandated. They reflect an attitude, a preference for acting, and an interest in extending yourself.
Here are just a few examples:
- The neighbor who reaches out to the new family who is moving in next door.
- The doctor’s office staff which takes the time to check back on the patient and answer any and all questions.
- The boss who makes sure to learn the background of the new employee.
- The leader who takes time to get to know individual members of the team.
- The friend who is willing to make introductions of two people who would benefit from knowing each other.
- The customer who asks the employee behind the cash register how his or her day is going.
The Difference Between Being a People Person, an Extrovert, and a Connector
We have heard the phrase “people person” and know that it means someone who enjoys interacting with others. To be genuinely interested in people without having an agenda is the hallmark of a “people person”. At its foundation, it means you like being around people.
In a similar way, extroverts are comfortable extending themselves. They derive energy from social settings and would not be uncomfortable walking into an event where they don’t know anyone. Taking it a step further, extroverts crave being around people and feel isolated if they spend too much time alone.
Connectors seek a third level of engagement. They actively look for opportunities to benefit others through connecting with them. Connectors persevere in building relationships even when the path isn’t well defined. They initiate, they circle back, they follow up, they invest.
The Seven Things All Connectors Do
1) Connecting requires having the mindset that all people are interesting. Everyone has a unique story. Connectors set out to capture (and remember) the stories of others.
2) Connectors ask insightful questions. This is the most important connection skill and it is easy to do. Think of being a journalist. What interview questions would you ask: Who? What? When? Where? Why? Which? and How? You don’t have to ask them all. Asking any of them is the pathway to start a conversation.
3) Connectors understand that it takes energy and effort to build relationships. Connection is not a one stop process. If you genuinely want to engage, it requires multiple attempts and interactions.
4) Connectors understand that the relationship deepens by sharing vulnerabilities. Connectors share details of their lives – not in an effort to bare all – but in order to offer mutual support, encouragement, and hope.
5) Connectors practice gratitude. Learning to be grateful for what each person offers creates an attitude of appreciation that fosters a better connection.
6) Connectors take the meeting. The door of a connector remains open. In being willing to see the opportunities in getting to know others, they open themselves up to any and all possibilities.
7) Connectors introduce. Connectors love nothing more than finding the perfect fit for those in their circle to grow that circle. That skill is like putting puzzle pieces together. It’s connecting the dots to enhance existing relationships.
Why Should I Be a Connector?
Why not?! The benefits of being a connector far outweigh the time it takes. How else will we grow our world and embrace the richness of the individuals we encounter in our lives? I love the idea that we directly impact our future by being brave connectors.
This quote by John Shedd speaks to our essential reason to connect:
“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
Write to me at Ann@AnnLouden.com and ask me your connection questions. I am all ears!
A seasoned executive in the nonprofit world, Ann Louden is the founder and CEO of Ann Louden Strategy and Consulting. Recognized for her expertise in fund raising, high profile special events, and campaign planning, Ann provides counsel to chief executives, staff, and volunteer leadership.
Ann’s primary interest areas are education, health care for women and children, the arts, and adoption. As a cancer survivor, she led and was the twelve-year spokesperson for a breast cancer advocacy initiative that engaged thousands of survivors, volunteers and medical providers. With a mantra of bringing big ideas to life, Ann focuses on identifying a compelling vision and creating a goals-oriented plan for execution.
An in-demand national speaker for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Ann is the recipient of the Steuben Excellence in Teaching Award and has been named as a CASE Laureate. She is the author of the upcoming book: From Social Courage to Connection: Lessons from Leaders Who Change and Save Lives.
You can find her at www.AnnLouden.com.