CCK08: Qualities of Connected People


Girl Mailing a Letter

Originally uploaded by Smithsonian Institution

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?



Filed under CCKO8, Technology Trends

6 responses to “CCK08: Qualities of Connected People

  1. jennymackness

    This is a great post. I love your list of the qualities of a connected person – just the sort of thing I was thinking about in my post (thanks for your reference to my post) but you have gone so much further.

    Off the top of my head and I’m definitely going to think about this further, I would add two more points to your list

    – they are tolerant of different perspectives
    – they are not backward in coming forward

    I’m not absolutely sure about the second point as I know of a number of introverts and self-confessed ‘lurkers’ who are very successful online and well connected. How ‘visible’ do you need to be in a network to be well connected. This might have something to do with the weak and strong ties that have been discussed. Maybe ‘lurkers’ are well connected because of their weak ties.

  2. rheyden

    Good additions, Jenny. Tolerance is key. And I love your phrase “they are not backward in coming forward”. Interestingly, I had an entry in my list that included something like this (not nearly as well said)…that is, extroverts or being comfortable talking with strangers…but I took it off. I think I removed it for the very reason that you make. I’m not sure that being an “extrovert” is a requirement for connectivism. As you say, there are many lurkers that are quite effective networkers or help facilitate the networking of others. Yup, the strong/weak ties element fits in well here, doesn’t it?

  3. Thanks you Robin. You are much too kind. 🙂

    Your description of your father tells me where you got some of your many talents. For those who have not met you in person, I can say that this definitely applies to you as well.

    “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.”

    Jenny, I also like your additions to the list. I feel that tolerance (and knowledge) of different perspectives is one of the most important skills that we can nurture in ourselves (and our students).

    Actually, I am a very shy person except in situations where I know that the person or group is genuinely interested in what I have to offer. Then I definitely am not “backward in coming forward.”

    Robin will be presenting tomorrow at the NABT in Memphis on Social Media (including Second Life). I will be there to help her out. We see each other frequently in the Metaverse, but I’m looking forward to our real life meet-up!

  4. Pingback: CCK08: Week 6 The C Words and the D Words « Clyde Street

  5. suifaijohnmak

    You must be a great fan of psychology and emotional intelligence. And so do I, though I came from an engineering background.
    The attributes listed are important.
    And I would like to add:
    They know when to praise and when to keep silent
    They are non-judgmental
    When they don’t understand, they know how and when to ask
    They leave others a personal space – by being not pushy
    They are great applied psychologists like you… with a sense of humour
    I greatly appreciate your postings.. It stimulates us to think…
    What’s your next question?
    You are welcome to find your answeres or more questions here:
    check on the funny story and the face book if you like

  6. rheyden

    Loved the Chon Chow butterfly story you tell on your wordpress blog. Very nice. I also like your addditions to that list of qualities. Like Jenny, you added the notion of “tolerance” (non-judgment) – so important. And how right you are, I am very interested in emotional intelligence and the study of human motivations and behavior. Thanks for your post. (I couldn’t find you on Facebook?)

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