by Kelli Richards, Jeeni MD USA
People call me a ‘super-connector’; I literally make my living connecting people and opportunities to each other and I have a very broad and deep network that I’ve built over many years of establishing long-term trusted relationships. Many of these relationships were developed the old-fashioned way, by having ‘live’ conversations of substance in person or over the phone over time. That said, we live in a fragmented world where more and more we connect through devices and technology (whether via text messaging on our phones, e-mail over the Internet or via Zoom conference calls online).
While these technologies are arguably convenient and time-saving, something has gotten lost in translation. Look around whenever you’re out in public, and the vast majority of people have their faces buried in their smartphones or in their laptops. This applies regardless of age, gender, or any other consideration. One of the saddest (but most prolific) examples is when a couple are out having a meal together but each has their face buried in their own device, and are in their own worlds. At a minimum, this type of behavior certainly seems to push intimacy away and can lead to undesirable outcomes because people have stopped looking at each other and engaging in active conversation.
The film producer Brian Grazer has just published his new book entitled “Face to Face: The Art of Human Connection”, and of course I love it. In the book, Brian argues that one of the secrets to a better life lies in establishing personal real-time connection (like we all used to indulge in before we had access to these devices). He argues that burying ourselves in our individual devices destroys an essential facet of the human experience we can only get when we look at someone face-to-face and engage in a real conversation. When we do so, and look into each other’s eyes, we form strong connections and bonds with each other, we understand each other better, we expand our world views, and we create memorable meaningful moments that can lead to a range of possibilities. When we connect and understand each other, we become interested in what matters to one another and that leads to wanting to support and add value to each other’s lives. This is what truly matters folks.
No matter how convenient our technology and devices are or become, the bottom line is that trusted relationships rule the world — and that applies both personally and professionally across the board.
So, I strongly urge you to reach out and make time to connect with people face-to-face more often. Seek to understand others, pay attention and invest genuine time in getting to know what matters to them so you can figure out how you can add value to them and help them to achieve their goals. Be yourself, more uncensored — drop your masks and be authentic, the kind of person you want others to know and respect. Show up fully as yourself, vulnerable and caring, which encourages others to do the same. And as you do so, watch what happens as your relationships shift and evolve. I’m willing to bet your life will improve and create a ripple effect that impacts the lives of others around you as well.