The internet has opened up a whole new world of content, connections and networking possibilities. The explosion of digital and social media has fundamentally changed the way we function, communicate and do business both online and offline.
We are bombarded with multiple networking groups, industry-specific events and meet-ups through friends, colleagues, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, you name it. There’s even speed networking – an event designed on the format of speed dating, where you have a set period of short time to strike up a ‘connection’ before you have to move on to the next person.
We are more connected than ever before through our smartphone, the internet, instant messaging and social media. Yet the technology that was supposed to connect us and bring us closer together actually seems to be having the reverse effect. It would appear that the increase in ‘connection’ has actually resulted in a parallel increase in ‘disconnection’.
Social media encourages one-way communication. Status updates and shout-outs, overloading and oversharing of personal information and hashtags — #bestdayever, #grateful, #inspired — make us look ‘good’ but feel ‘bad’, and appear to be adding very little of actual value to our lives.
If the number of connections we have on social media and in our database were all that mattered then every one of us would be basking in unparalleled success just from the sheer number of opportunities we have to connect. But as we know, that’s simply not the truth.
We are currently doing it all wrong. Our obsession with quantity over quality, with width versus depth, with transactional connecting versus building connections that transform is leaving us feeling overwhelmed, over exhausted, over stretched and over it. Connecting, as we know it, has become shallow, superficial and ineffective.
What you actually need for exponential growth is a network of transformational rather than transactional connections. It’s about connecting in the right way, engaging in two-way conversations and sharing value with each other.
It’s about immersing yourself in conversations that span industries and functions with no limits on the range and depth of discussion. It’s about colourful conversations, sharing different perspective and broader views.
It’s up to you to invest the time, energy and commitment to build quality relationships and to commit to not getting lost in a field of ‘likes’ and accepts. It’s up to you to make connections that matter.