We all want to connect with other people. It’s a primal need inside each of us to help counteract the fear of being alone. That need drives each of us to reach out when we feel lonely or scared. To share our knowledge and truths in the content we create. To share when we think we have something valuable to say.
The connections we make with others are good for our mood, mental health, general wellbeing, and our business. Because we don’t want to feel lonely, isolated, alone - that’s where ‘danger’ lurks.
As Maslow's hierarchy of needs illustrates beautifully - we all want to belong to something. It’s why we join random Facebook groups based on our hobbies or random likes and why we sign up for memberships with online communities, even if we don’t interact with them. We want to feel connected, and we want to feel like we belong; even if it is to a group of random people who share our mutual love of dogs, share the same vision or want to reach a common goal
People want to connect with you and your business
When people join your mailing list or follow you on social media, they’re looking for a connection too. Something you said or did resonated with them, and they like you and/or what you have to say. Maybe they want help and support and see you as someone who can help because of the content you’ve created. They may even be looking for friendship and support - and that’s ok too! They signed up to your list, followed you or left a comment on your blog because they felt a connection of some kind and saw a benefit in connecting.
Old-school views on connection are no longer relevant
Many heart-based businesses will have read articles online about networking, building connections and growing your list. And I’ll be honest; there’s a lot of them out there that seem written around old-school, hard-nosed beliefs around connection. You know - like the belief that there are no friends in business, you have to spy on your competitors, you focus on what you get out of the relationship, and you generally push to get your needs met.
It’s totally understandable that it all just doesn’t sit right with you. It feels wrong. It feels inauthentic. Whilst we’re talking about connection, they seem to be talking about conflict - and that has no place in our world.
Growing a business is all about connection and relationships
So we come back to what connection is - to have an association or bond with something. And if you want that bond to grow and develop into a flourishing relationship, you need to communicate well, add emotion to it and gently nurture it into a relationship.
Those people on your list felt an emotional connection in some way with you - it’s why they signed up. You may have said something on your social media or within your blog that spoke to their needs, hinted at their desire or even upset or triggered them, but it connected with them. They felt seen, heard, appreciated and understood, and they wanted more. They took the first step and reached out by signing up or following you - are you now going to leave them hanging?
Because you’re doing them and yourself a disservice if you don’t respond. At best, you’ve lost the chance of a new connection to form; at worse, you’ve come across as uncaring, cold, or inauthentic.
Fear of rejection stops us from connecting with others
So what stops us from connecting and reaching out? What stops us from looking to further that relationship or responding to that connection request? It’s another one of those primal fears - fear of rejection.
Instead of looking at how we can grow that new connection, we look back at ourselves and our connection with ourselves. We worry about how we look, what we say and why they’re even following us. We question our knowledge and their expectations, and we fear we won’t be able to adequately connect with them and deliver what they need or want from us. And worse - we worry we’ll try and reach out, only to get rejected.
You can’t connect with others if you’re not connected with yourself
And that shines a little more light on the true power of connection. It isn’t just about connecting with others; it’s equally (if not more important!) that we also connect with ourselves. And as a business owner, that also means connecting more with your business - because it’s a part of you too.
When we feel we’re connected, we feel we have purpose and meaning in our lives. We feel stronger, and we feel we have a reason to connect more with others. We can then be more centred in our personal power and visible in our business. We find it easier to reach out and connect with others and write more authentic content, simply because we know who we are, what we’re about and what we bring to the table.
How to create authentic connections in your business content
So how can you use your content to connect in a truly authentic and aligned way with your audience? By being honest and transparent with yourself, your audience and your intentions.
#1: Know your audience wants to feel connected to you.
Your audience wants to be seen and feel heard. They’ve reached out because they feel a connection to what they’ve seen, heard or read from you. You didn’t strongarm them to sign up to your list or follow you on social media - they wanted to! It’s a sign that they want to connect more.
#2: Remind yourself of what you bring to the table
How can you be of service? What can you offer to improve that connection and start turning it into a relationship? Think about your know-how, advice, expertise, stories and experiences, and give your friendship and time. What makes you, you? That’s what you bring to the table.
#3: Get clear on why you’re creating and sharing your content
Know why you’re creating each and every piece of content. Come from a place of helping, no other agenda. You’re having a conversation, connecting, sharing your knowledge and experiences. Your main aim - to help in some way and strengthen that connection. Worried because you want to ask for a sale? That’s ok if it’s coming from an authentic place. You know you can help - and you’re just giving them information on a potential solution. Remember, selling is serving.
#4: Look to connect from your heart to your content
When you create your content, come from a place of love. Come from a place of feeling. You know and care for them, you know how they feel and how they want to feel, you know what they need and want to hear. Just be you and create your content from that space. Remind yourself what you’re bringing to the table and imagine having a conversation with only one person. You’re opening up and sharing your heart, energy, time and love in each piece of content you create.
#5: Trust your words will connect with your reader
When you write and talk from a place of love and support, that energy will infuse your content. Your words will help the reader feel understood and seen. The content you create will ‘speak’ to them and connect with them. Trust that your words will resonate and connect with the right person when they are ready to see and hear them and when they most need them.
Because that’s the true power your content holds within it. We all need to connect with others, but we don’t always know how to. When you speak from your heart and reach out with the content you create, you’re making that first move. You’re looking to connect, and you’re putting that request out there. You’re being brave and taking on the risk of rejection yourself - so the other person doesn’t have to. It’s safer and easier for them to then respond.
Then it’s down to you to further minimise any fears or worries they may have lurking around, by not leaving them hanging. You and your business are needed; you have something worthwhile to say. People are actively looking to connect with you, and your only job is to accept those connections and do what you can to enhance and grow them. It’s down to you to remind them that they’re not alone, and you see, hear, value and appreciate them connecting with you.
 Abraham Maslow. “A Theory of Human Motivation” Psychological Review. Available at: http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Maslow/motivation.htm
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