The power of making a connection with people is nothing short of amazing and always brings a smile to my face when it happens. It really is a small world and the things that connect us are really very similar. Just a few days ago, I had the oil changed in my car. I took my dog with me because she goes with me anytime she can and the dealership I use is dog friendly. When we arrived, I noted a waiting room of about eight others waiting on their cars. No one was talking and most were looking at their phones. As I walked in and took a seat with my dog, each person looked up from their phones and smiled. Immediately, a conversation started with questions about my dog; what is her name? How old is she? What kind of dog is she? As I answered their questions, each of them began to contribute about their own pets or pets they had in the past. The wait time flew by, I met some new delightful people and we all made a connection with each other.
As I reflected on this experience, it occurred to me the conversation in the car dealership might not have occurred without the presence of my dog – clearly no one had been talking before we sat down. I wondered if I would have engaged any of them in a conversation or if I too would have looked at my phone?
How often does each of us miss opportunities to make a real connection with another person, even those closer to us? I began to think about the people I sit next to on an airplane, the people on my team, patients and their families and so many more. Making a connection with people not only brightens your day but theirs as well. We all have so much more in common than we realize, it literally takes one to two minutes to find a commonality.
The reality is, we are all going 100 miles per hour and some of us are addicted to our phones, not to mention the new smart watches we have access to now that make messaging and information even more accessible! We need to rethink our practices here. Connecting with the people on our teams helps drive engagement. Connecting with our patients eases their fear and anxiety. Those facts are hard to argue with. Look around you, what other opportunities do you have to connect with people?
Mary Kay Ash said, “Every person has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘Make me feel important.’ ” Never forget this when working with people. I believe this whole heartedly and challenge myself and each of you to slow down, put aside the technology and connect with people. Until next time, go and lead with passion!