Real Connection – “Needing to Know” Is No Longer Needed

Connection on a deeper level

During my junior year, I attended a free etiquette dinner hosted by my university to teach soon-to-be business graduates how to carry themselves at a business dinner. There were about 100 students in attendance and we were actually in a formal dinner setting with attire regulations and a full 3-course meal. During the dinner, we had a host that explained what do to in each occasion from how to sit, when to eat, how to eat, what to talk about, and everything in between. I remember it vividly and we all got a ton out of the experience. The one thing that I was in disagreement about was in her discussion about conversing in a business setting. Specifically, what we as soon-to-be graduates need to know in order to strike certain conversations and relate to others. Needing to know how sports teams performed this past week, needing to know how to golf, and needing to know that random and insignificant event that happened on Fox News are all old news and old stereotypes. These are all just ways of being forced to conform into a role or lifestyle preventing us from firstly doing what makes us happy and secondly developing a connection with others on a deeper level.


Doing what makes you happy

Researching how every local sports team has performed before or taking up learning a sport just to share an activity with an employee or boss is a waste of personal time. It takes away from time we can be spending with whatever hobbies we are passionate about or researching team or topics that we actually want to follow. There are only so many hours in a day and spending them focusing initially on doing things that make us really happy is much more important. Instead for example, if you are preparing for a business dinner, research topics related to your industry which I will explain below.

Connecting with others on a deeper level

Yes, it is important and crucial to find a connection with employees and bosses. The best and most genuine way to do this is to find something that both of you actually share and not forcing it. Passion is very apparent so if we say we are a “diehard fan” of a team or really enjoy playing another sport or activity in an attempt to connect, the person you are speaking with will not only see that you are lying, but it can be a huge turn off and could ruin any attempt of establishing any connection at all. So how do you find a connection? Have patience and give it time. This is not something that can necessarily be found on someones LinkedIn profile or just by a couple interactions.

So what do we do in these instances when asked questions about these topics? Be honest. If you do not know or if you have no experience with the questions, say it. Then add into the conversation what you are passionate about or you do outside of work. There will be two outcomes: first, the person you are conversing with will be interested and know what your passions really are, deepening your relationship. Or second, they will selfishly judge you for not being up-to-date or not sharing the same activities and reduce the amount of time they choose to interact with you. Win-win!

Being efficient with your time

Relationships require work, or at least ones that you want to last or build to a more deeper level. And the reality is we cannot have these relationships with everyone we know or have met. So first, decide who are the people you really want to know and build a relationship with and start there. Many people will have to be left out of this list and some people on your list may not want you on there list as well. So after that initial filtering has happened, you have your heading. Do not waste time trying to learn and develop relationships with people that are not on your list because this takes away from the limited time we have to develop the ones we want to build.

This article is not focused on knowledge of you specific industry, it is touching on the conversations you have about things not related to work. I believe that you must be updated on your specific industry and know big events. These are things you need to know for the sake of your position. In addition to this, staying up to date on life events of the people on your list is important as well.

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