After reading Jenny Mackness’s blog entry about her 82-year old mother (loved it), I started thinking more about what human qualities help to insure our connectedness. And are these qualitie that can be nurtured, developed, enhanced? Surely, indentifying the qualities of well-connected people would be step #1 in coming closer to being a more well-connected person myself?
So, after reading about Jenny’s mum and her church, golf, and dog-walking friends, I began to complie my own list of well-connected individuals.
I had to start with my friend Liz Dorland. Many of you may already know Liz…that’s just how well connected she is. I only met Liz a few years ago at a Gordon Conference on visualization. But since that initial meeting, Liz has introduced me to more people (and more interesting people) than many whom I’ve know my entire life. Liz is a faculty member at Washington University, she is a scientist (chemist), she is a teacher, a mother, an active citizen of Second Life, and a member of many (including this one) online communities. But membership is just opening the door. Liz walks in the room and begins to work it . The room is brighter and more interesting when she’s there.
Next up on my list: Chalon Bridges, a publishing editor that I’ve had the pleasure of working with for four years. Like Liz, Chalon knows many people and adroitly connects them to each other. She seems to have boundless energy and applies it prodigiously to the task of moving through her network and expanding it. I am always struck by her openness to new information; she’s like a sponge, eager to soak it up.
Giving us a tidy triplet, I have to add my father. His profession, through many phases and faces, was sales. Primarily working in the medical field, he networked among health care professionals. He remembered names, interests, and preferences as if they were his own. Key to his success was his ability to make people feel comfortable and, in their comfort, see the advantages that were so perfectly clear to him.
Reflecting on my observations, as I watch these three people network, here is my first stab at the qualities of a connected person:
– They move adroitly between groups
– They remember people’s key interests/areas of expertise and then connect the dots when they encounter someone else with those interests
– They regularly give sincere credit/compliments to people for the things they do well
– They don’t waste words or time – each encounter is action-packed
– They are articulate – making connections and the advantages within those connections clear to everyone
– They are good listeners
– They understand the dynamics of social interaction…the give and take
– In most interactions, they lead with the “give” instead of the “take”
– They have their eye fixed on the long-term (as in, this may not pay off right now, but over the long-haul, it will)
– They have a way of making people feel comfortable and open to new experiences/people/processes
What would you add to this list?