Your Connection Cachet

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Your Connection Cachet

What does it mean to be a CONNECTOR? I have always been fascinated by people who attract others to themselves, seemingly with no effort. From the outside looking in, it appears they develop relationships easily, have more friends, and enjoy life more. If that’s true, how do they do it?

First, let’s define CONNECTOR.  The dictionary tells us that a connector is a thing which links two or more together, or a device for keeping two parts in contact. Also, according to Webster’s, a connector is a short road or highway that connects two longer roads or highways.

But what does that mean in “people” terms?

Simply stated, a CONNECTOR is a person who is willing and committed to engage with others for their benefit. CONNECTORS look outward, not inward. They are focused on those around them and constantly thinking how they can serve them.

Here’s an example of a connection experience. Last Saturday morning, I was at the post office on Columbus and 68th on the Upper West Side. I live on the opposite side of town and often go to a post office on York Avenue. Queue lines there are always long, move slowly, and inside humidity is often the same sticky hot as outside. In contrast, the Columbus Avenue building is appropriately cooled, and signage to direct customers moves the clientele quickly and efficiently.

When I walked in the door carrying an armload of boxes, I took my place behind a long line of people who were also on a mission. Standing between the roped stanchions, I spotted a uniformed USPS staff member ahead at the turn. She spoke to each person as they rounded the curve: “Good morning, sir. How can we help you today?” I listened as she gave every customer advice or encouragement: “You’ll be seeing the clerk at the end of the counter. She can help you with that.” OR, “Just step over here, and I will show you what form you’ll need and how to fill it out.”

When I got to her, she took one look at my large bundle and said: “Why don’t you come with me? I can help you at my desk.” Happily stepping out of line, I followed her to a counter at the side.

“How’s your day going?” she asked. “Much better since meeting you,” I answered. “You know, I have to tell you,“ I went on. “I don’t live on this side of town, but for years, whenever I can, I have come to this post office. It’s my favorite in Manhattan.”

The clerk smiled.

“You know we hear that all the time. And we love it. We never take for granted that our customers get good service. We care about them.”

We completed the transaction and I turned to go.

“Have a good afternoon and try to stay cool, Ann,” the clerk said.

“Thank you,” I replied. “Interacting with you made my day!”

In the ten minutes I was inside the post office, my mood had shifted from anxiety to appreciation. I had entered wondering (and hoping) my visit would equal the good experiences I had there in the past. Not only did it exceed my expectations, it got me thinking.

My clerk, who played the role of ambassador or ombudsman, was a game changer. Her helpfulness, her focus on the customers, and her willingness to engage beyond what would be typical was a demonstration of connection. Judging from my visits to other post offices in the area, her behavior isn’t at all standard.

The choice the clerk made to be a CONNECTOR elevated the experience for everyone she met last weekend. And her CONNECTION ATTITUDE created goodwill for that post office branch that will carry over into loyalty.

You can create your own CONNECTION CACHET through your daily interactions. Think about the power you have to change someone’s day by the simple act of extending yourself on their behalf.

I want to hear about your connection experiences. Send me an email to Ann@AnnLouden.com with the subject line CONNECTION CACHET and I look forward to connecting with you!

Author

  • 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.

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