9 Ways to make Meaningful Connections Online is a Guest Post by Lisa Humphries
“In the online world even more so than face to face, making meaningful connections is essential to having a positive experience.”
How do you create and nurture genuine connections from behind a screen? How do you ensure that these connections are a true reflection of your authentic self?
It is a basic need as human beings to crave connection. As someone who has lived with anxiety and depression for many years, I have learned that the benefits of real connections are beyond measure. In fact it could be said that connection is a very real preventative measure to deal with isolation and loneliness, perhaps even depression.
Connection certainly contributes to happiness, and if your connections are meaningful, rewarding and positive then they most likely also create much joy in your life. On the contrary, if they are based on anything less than this and if they tend more towards being shallow or negative then it is likely they are going to create more heartache than joy.
“It can help us feel alive, energised and useful to be a part of the global community; real connections create a somewhat magical shared energy that has a ripple effect.”
If you need a little help creating more meaningful and authentic connections with other women online, these are some of the ways that I have done this:
1. Be authentic
What are the values that you want to project and use as the basis for all of your communications and connections? Tune in carefully to the essence of your brand, your blog, yourself. It is essential that you present yourself authentically online if you want to connect in a meaningful way that reflects your values. It is such an important foundation and start point when thinking about making and nurturing connections online.
Practical tip: List the 3 values that are most important to you in life and keep these printed somewhere handy so that every time you share something online you can double-check that you are being authentic and true to your values. For example, my 3 values are authenticity, kindness and service; so everything that I share online needs to have at least one of these as a theme to the content.
2. Connect meaningfully
How do you want to portray yourself? Is it important to you that your life has some depth and meaning? Connecting with others can be intensely personal, or at the other end of the spectrum it can be cold and inauthentic. It is no surprise which of these types of connections will lead to reward, fulfillment and positive outcomes. Go a little deeper with your online communications, venture into the topics that others shy away from and you will a whole lot more meaning!
Practical tip: Always leave a little bit of yourself in the words that you share online, be sure to let people know what matters to you.
3. Be generous
How can you inspire and serve your tribe in the most generous and meaningful way possible? It is important to remember that the more you give the more you receive. I believe that a lot of business people have this the wrong way around when they enter into the online world. It is generally all about how much they can take, accumulate or make for themselves. If you head into anything in life with the aim to give as much as possible, the rest will take care of itself!
Practical tip: Allocate at least 30 minutes each day to give compliments online, either on blog posts or social media. Do this generously, authentically and simply to shine a light on someone else, do it without expecting anything in return.
4. Focus on your why
Why did you start your blog, your business or your project? What is the why behind every word that you share, every product or service you create and put out into the world? It is essential to be very clear on this before you start to connect.
Practical tip: Spend 30 minutes getting very clear on your WHY. Make a list of the Top 5 reasons why you choose to blog, or the reasons behind starting your business or project.
5. Nurture your connections
Connections are like friendships, they need to be nurtured and they require a consistent effort. It is not enough to simply contact someone once and expect that this will become a meaningful connection or relationship. It is really important to make regular contact with your online connections, put in the effort to show that you are genuine and looking for long-term, mutually rewarding relationships.
Practical tip: Keep a list of your online connections, a contact list will allow you to check in with each person regularly and not forget anyone. I have a list of my favourite bloggers in my web browser favourites and this is where I remind myself to make regular visits to their online homes and leave a little love.
6. Picture your audience
If you are a blogger, or perhaps you are in business creating products or services for your audience, either way, the person who is at the heart and soul of your audience should always be your priority. It is essential to prepare all of your content with this person in mind.
Practical tip: Create an actual image of your ideal reader or customer, use magazine cut outs, or a Pinterest board or draw this yourself if you are creative. If you can have a visual of the type of person you are wanting to connect with then this will bring it all to life for you.
7. Take it offline
If geography is your friend, and your online connections are organically leading towards offline connections then make the move to meet up! I have made some seriously amazing friends through blogging and social media, and I strongly believe that it is all about the energy that you put out via your keyboard. If the energy is filled with heart, goodness and generosity that is truly authentic then this is what you are going to attract right back at you! It makes sense to nurture these connections in real life too!
Practical tip: Have a look around for any meet-ups happening in your online circles, or workshops and other events. If this seems to be lacking in your corner of the world then you could consider starting something yourself or with another online friend.
8. Join a Group
Facebook groups are a growing phenomenon! I find them to be amazingly rich experiences when you approach them with generosity, non judgement and again with the aim of giving as much as possible. My blog mentor group is the most magical place! It is seriously a haven for the 9 of us who are blessed to be mentored in the space by one of the most generous, real and empowering fellow bloggers! Groups are available for pretty much any type of interest, passion or profession and if you can find somewhere you fit in naturally it will become a breeding ground for amazing connections and inspiration!
Practical tip: Use the group search functionality in Facebook to find groups of interest and spend some time connecting in 1-2 groups consistently.
9. Be Nice
I know this seems a bit obvious. Sadly there is not enough ‘niceness’ online, and every single one of us has the power to change this. I have recently banned myself from reading the comments on anything that is controversial or negative on Facebook. It was seriously dragging me down into a place of disillusion and complete confusion. The thought that I was sharing space with people who seem to have a complete disregard for some of the basic elements of human decency was throwing me into a spin! It is such a simple concept being nice, yet it could not be more complicated it seems. Just. Be . Nice. Make sure that you think about every single word you share, every single word. Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it helpful? Is it nice? Do you want to make connections based on kindness or negativity?
Practical tip: Take 3 deep breaths before everything you share online, ask yourself how it could potentially be received by others? Is it nice? Remember that your words have the power to change the world, and the lives of others, use them wisely and considerately always.