Connect by Blogging

Welcome to Day 21 of 31 Days of Connection! Missed any of the posts? Stop by Day 1 for all the links.

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Connect by Blogging

Sharing your words through blogging is a bit like writing a story or book, but it’s more interactive. You’re still putting your words out there and hoping that somebody will connect with your words, your story, your worldview, your life. The evidence of that connection happens through blog traffic, comments, social media interaction, emails, and discussing posts in person. Sometimes you connect with your readers and sometimes with fellow bloggers.

I’ve been blogging on and off since 2008, if you can believe that! My main blog through many of those years (I started additional blogs here and there as well as contributed to a couple of group blogs) was Stop and Smell the Chocolates. Because there were fewer blogs back then and SEO wasn’t a concern and blogs were simpler, people had more time to actually read and comment on blogs. There was time to link up to weekly blog parties and browse blog directories looking for new reads. Did I connect through my blogging? YES – so many wonderful connections and dear friends!

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I wrote a post once on the Blessings of Blogging and listed the first 3 blessings off the top of my head, which were these:

~ My blog has provided me with a creative outlet.
~ Blogging has given me a sense of community.
~ I have made new friends through blogging.

You’ll notice that 2 of those 3 are absolutely about connecting – making new friends and a sense of community. The ability to connect may seem harder in these days when blogging involves so much more effort in order to be found and to be valued. That is partly true – though the solution is to blog smarter, not harder. But really, you’re seeing less of the evidence of people connecting and that makes it harder to know that there are people who need your words and are touched by what you have to share. The relationships may take more time and effort, but don’t shy away from putting your words out there and doing what you can to make sure that they are found – your voice is important and you will connect eventually.

If you have been considering starting a blog, I say do it! There are many great resources to help you with blogging, but I do recommend Debi Stangeland and Amy Lynn Andrews. And if you are struggling with blogging and need a little push to get going again, you might try reading some of the posts in my Encouraging Bloggers series on my old blog.

Day 21 Daily Connection Challenge:
If you have a blog, write a post! Write something that you’ve been wanting to share from the heart or something that you’re passionate about. Share the post as many ways as possible so it can be found and see who connects with you. If you don’t have a blog, but are thinking of starting one, do some research and list out the steps you need to take. Come up with a name and search to make sure there are no big blogs or websites already branded with the name. If you don’t have a blog and are not interested in starting one, take some time to read blog posts from your favorite writers or find an interesting post that has been shared on Facebook. If you feel a connection with that blogger’s words, let them know through comments or email. 


Thank you for joining me for Day 21 of 31 Days of Connection! Do you have a blog? Or have you been thinking about starting one? Let me know in the comments!

Connect by Writing Books and Stories

Welcome to Day 20 of 31 Days of Connection! Click over to Day 1 with links to all the posts in case you have missed anything.

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Connect by Writing Books and Stories

When we’re talking about ways to connect, many of them overlap in some way. Connecting through the written word can happen is so many different ways, whether through handwritten cards, email, blogging, or writing books and stories. Writing books may seem to be a one-sided way of connection, but it is still a way to connect and can even lead to deeper connections and relationships.

Have you ever read a book and felt like the author was speaking directly to you? That’s what the author hopes for. When someone writes a book or story, they are reaching out with words in hopes that somebody out there will benefit from them and connect on some level with what they have to say. Sometimes you are compelled to share the book or story with others and connect by sharing a common bond. Sometimes you feel such a connection to the story that you will reach out to the author to let them know through social media, email, or by talking to them at a book-signing. That could start up a conversation and then a relationship.

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Why You Should Write Your Story

Many people have a desire to share a story or write a book, but never follow through due to fear or feeling that it can only be done a certain way. Is that you? You should be bold and take that step out into the unknown – share your story. There are so many ways to share your writing these days. You might write your book or story and just share with your family. You might self-publish an ebook or publish an article in a magazine. You might get a printed book deal or have your story included in a published collection.

You have something to say and something to share. There are people out there who want to hear what you have to say and maybe you are the only one who can say it in such a way that they connect with your words and your story. You can help create meaningful connections by writing your book or story. If you are struggling with wanting to take that next step, there are many writers who can give encouragement, like Michael Hyatt and Jeff Goins. You may want to check out Jeff’s book, You Are a Writer.

Day 20 Daily Connection Challenge:
Write down 3 story or book ideas that you have (it could even be writing your memoirs for your children). Read Jeff Goins’ post: Why Everyone Should Write a Book. Schedule a time this week to write something – anything! Also, think of a book or story that you have really connected with. Either recommend it to a friend who may connect with it as well, or send a message through email or social media to the author to let them know what their words have meant to you.


Thank you for joining me for Day 20 of 31 Days of Connection! What books or stories have you connected with lately? Share them in the comments! See you back here for Day 21, friends!

10 Best Practices For Connecting Through Email

Welcome to Day 19 of 31 Days of Connection (and sorry for the delay)! If you have missed any posts, stop by Day 1 for links to each post that has been published.

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Connecting Through Email

We talked about the importance of connecting using phone calls and handwritten cards, which are wonderful ways to connect, but it is impractical to do all of our connecting and communicating in those ways. Much of our connecting will happen through email. What’s so great about email? Almost everybody has an email address (even my 86-year old dad uses email!); it’s free; you can connect with people you know and people you don’t know; you can use it personally and professionally; and the communication is instant or almost. You can email somebody on the other side of the world and they will be able to read your message and respond right away – an amazing way to communicate and connect in our busy world.

I have seen enough email over the years to have learned some best practices. Some of these tips may seem obvious to you and if they do, then you are doing a great job! But there are definitely some of us who could use a few tips or reminders to improve our emails in order to do a better job of connecting. You should put the same care and effort into creating and sending an email that you would put into creating and sending a handwritten letter. Follow some of these best practices and see if you get better responses, results, and reactions to your emails.

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10 Email Best Practices

1 – Make it personal. Don’t just start off the email with “hey” (save that for your immediate family), but use the person’s first name in your greeting. Include some information within the email that is specific to who you’re sending it to so it doesn’t sound like a cut and paste email sent out to several people (that may be the case, but it would be more effective to take time to slightly personalize each one).

2 – Start with a positive. Whether your email is for personal or professional purposes, it’s a good idea to start out with something positive. It could be general about your own life, something that you’re complimenting the person on, a positive memory associated with that person, or even that you’re glad to have the opportunity to send them a message today. When you start out with a positive, you help the person want to continue reading your email as well as feel like they are connecting with you.

3 – Be careful what you say. Sending an email is not an excuse to say things that you wouldn’t say in person such as unkind words or gossip. If you wouldn’t be willing to say it to a person’s face, then in most cases you probably shouldn’t say it in an email. Remember that email is never as private as you think. Though you send it to a specific person or group, you have NO control after that with who copies that message, sends your email to somebody else, or even uses it against you in some public or legal way. Your words are in writing and are out there and somewhat permanent once you hit Send. Always read through your email and make sure you are comfortable with your words going out just the way you have said them.

4 – Make it easy to read. Keep email messages on point and somewhat brief, if possible. People have a tendency to skim through and may miss important parts if you get too wordy (an issue that I struggle with). Put double spacing between groups of sentences or short paragraphs. Long blocks of writing with no white space are very difficult to focus on and read. And use a reasonable font size (not teeny tiny) in black or darker grays. Always help make life easier for the reader!

5 – End with a question or call-to-action. This applies whether it’s a personal or professional email. Whatever is at the end of the email is the last thing on the mind of the reader. If it’s a friend, you might remind them of what you asked about earlier in the message, “So please let me know what night next week we can connect over coffee!” or if it’s professional, you want to include the point of your email, “Sign up now to receive your free ebook – click below.” You get the idea – it’s a reminder of why you emailed in the first place, like a conclusion in an essay.

6 – Use proper grammar and punctuation. This doesn’t mean you can’t use slang and skip worrying about exact grammar rules when it’s appropriate. It does mean that you shouldn’t treat email like texting – all lower case and no punctuation. Email represents you and when you don’t bother with capitalization, punctuation, or making sure sentences make sense, it implies that you don’t care enough about the person you’re emailing to spend an extra minute or two on your message.

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7 – Proofread and double check. At the most basic, you should spell check your message. But you should also read it through carefully before sending. Make sure you haven’t left out words or made the meaning of a sentence unclear. Double check who you are sending it to and who you are copying. It only takes a few seconds to a minute to check these things before your email goes out and can never be fixed!

8 – Sign it. When we send emails from work, we often have an automatic email signature with contact info, which is great. But if you are sending out a personal message, don’t forget to sign it at the end so it’s clear who it’s from. Sometimes our email addresses don’t contain our actual names and people may not realize right away that it’s you if you don’t include your name at the end.

9 – Use bcc (blind carbon copy) cautiously. There are times when bcc should be used. If you are sending out an email to a large group of people that don’t all know each other and may not want their email addresses publicly shared, you should bcc all of them so they don’t have access to that info, but address them as a group so they know you are sending to several people at once. But making it a habit of including a bcc when sending a more sensitive email because you don’t want the person receiving it to know that you are copying someone on that email can backfire if that person hits reply all. Now the original people that were sent the email will know that somebody else was copied but hidden for some reason. There are some good explanations out there of the dangers of using bcc – I recommend thinking about it carefully.

10 – Send at the best time. Okay, so what is the best time? It all depends on who you are sending the email to. You should try to send it at a time when the person will be checking email so that it pops up near the top of the list. For many people, that’s first thing in the morning. For some of us night owls, we might take more notice of an email coming through at 11pm. And for some, they only check personal emails when they have more time, like on the weekend. Keep in mind that people can see what time your email was sent out. If you are sending an email to clients, you may not want them to see that you sent it at midnight – better to save it in draft and send in the morning. If it’s a personal email, some people get notifications with sound on their phones so you may not want to send at a time that would be disruptive in some way.

Bonus Best Practice – Include a subject line that is specific. Don’t make your subject line “Miscellaneous” or “Hi” or “Read Now!” – include more info that explains the purpose of the email. If it really is just to say hi, then “Just Saying Hi!” might work. If it’s more complicated, try to be specific. And don’t bait and switch by saying something in the subject line to get me to read the email but then writing about something different – that leaves me with a bad impression and I will be far less likely to react well to the email.

Day 19 Daily Connection Challenge:
Write and send at least 3 emails in the next 3 days, but check through your messages carefully, following all of the best practices. Find an old email that you sent and read through it to see what changes you would have made based on these best practices. 

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Connect Over Coffee Giveaway!

Speaking of connecting through email…I would like the opportunity to connect more with you through email! The best way to do that is for you to sign up as one of my subscribers. You’ll receive my blog posts and in the near future, newsletters and any special offers.

From now through November 1, sign up using the giveaway widget below, and you’ll be entered in a random drawing for 1 $25 Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee (your choice) Gift Card (1 winner). You must be at least 18 years old and live in the U.S. to enter. The winner can use it to invite a friend or family member out for coffee and a chance for connecting or reconnecting and improving a relationship. Connect by email and then connect over coffee! Enter below!

From Lisa Marie Connect Over Coffee Giveaway

Thank you for joining me for Day 19 of 31 Days of Connection – glad to have you here! Do you follow these best practices for email? Do you know people who send you emails that might need to read these tips? Let me know in the comments! See you soon for a Day 20 post!

Connect by Sending Cards and Letters

Welcome to Day 18 of 31 Days of Connection! Stop by Day 1 to catch up on any posts that you have missed so far.

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Connect by Sending Cards and Letters

Its sounds simple – obvious, even. Sending or giving handwritten cards or letters is a wonderful way to create or deepen a connection with another person. But giving or mailing cards and letters is becoming more and more unusual now that we have the ability to connect so easily online. Stop and think about it – when is the last time you gave somebody a handwritten card (photo cards where you did not include a personalized message to the specific receiver do not count)? How many cards or letters have you sent out this past year?

When somebody hands you a card with a handwritten message or sends you a letter, it makes most of us feel special to receive it. It feels even more special since we don’t get much mail these days, other than junk mail! In this day and age of instant everything, knowing that someone took the time to think of what to write and put that message on paper just for you gives you a sense of worth and a connection to that person. A handwritten card or letter feels so much more personal than an email or text. Think about the past: people wrote letters back and forth to each other and pen pals became friends for life or even fell in love.

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Maybe this is the time to break out the cards or stationery and write out a thoughtful message to a friend or a newsworthy note to a distant family member. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive – even lined binder paper sent in a security envelope will do. Or make a card with paper – you can even involve the kids to create some fun cards for you to use. Think about who you know that could really use a special card and handwritten message and set aside time to write it out and send it or hand deliver it.

Day 18 Daily Connection Challenge:
Pick 3 friends, family members, or acquaintances, that might like to receive a card from you. Choose cards or stationery that you already have or buy some inexpensive cards. Hand write a message to each person in a card or on stationery, with a minimum of 5 sentences. Mail or hand deliver the cards within the next 2 days.

Thank you for joining me for Day 18 of 31 Days of Connection! Do you like receiving handwritten cards and letters? Do you send out Christmas cards? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! See you back here for Day 19, friends! 

How to Connect Through Exceptional Customer Service

Welcome to Day 17 of 31 Days of Connection! Find every post as they are published linked up on Day 1, in case you have missed anything. Don’t miss any more posts in the series – click here to sign up now to receive them in your email inbox!

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Use Exceptional Customer Service to Connect Internally

We experience customer service everywhere we go. Surprisingly there is a lack of good customer service in many companies. There is no reason not to offer exceptional customer service in order to differentiate yourself in today’s economy. But there are other reasons for practicing this level of customer service – creating connections and building up professional relationships.

In order to improve the customer service experience, it must start as a priority internally. Happy employees lead to happy clients. If you don’t begin by treating employees within a company or group extremely well, you cannot expect them to overflow with helpfulness and kindness when dealing with clients. Do you treat your employees as the MOST important clients of your business? If you’re not, then you might be able to pull off decent customer service externally, but it will never be exceptional and exceptional is what it takes to connect.

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Create the culture of exceptional customer service internally by emphasizing the importance of it, recognizing employees who give each other excellent service, and putting customer service goals into place. Survey internal “customers” to get an idea of how the service is among employees and how to improve it. Hire employees who share the vision of exceptional customer service and truly care about helping out coworkers.

When you work as a team to deliver great service to each other, you show care and concern which creates connection between you. That connection grows into stronger professional relationships. By showing top down and inside out the value of excellent service, you will be setting up your employees for success in giving exceptional service to external customers as well.

Use Exceptional Customer Service to Connect Externally

Once we have established an internal focus on exceptional customer service, we can encourage and expect our employees to deliver that same level of service to external customers and clients. But we need to continue prioritizing exceptional service or it will fade and we’ll lose the connections that we have built.

When you give not just good, but exceptional service to a customer, that stands out. It makes them feel special and valued. Because of this, they are more likely to be a repeat customer. Not only that, they may be willing to spend more on your product or service because they enjoy the level of service you provide. But that exceptional service needs to be consistent in order to keep your customers delighted and returning to you over and over. Repeat customers turn into customer connections. Customer connections turn into lifetime customers and sometimes trusted friends. These are the customers that also refer family and friends to you. Connecting with customers through exceptional service is not only of value to the customer, but of great value to you and your company.

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Focus on exceptional external customer service by hiring the right employees and emphasizing the importance of excellent service. Remember that a smile is a great way to start connecting. Be sure to publicly praise employees when customer compliments are given and survey your customers regularly to determine service strengths and opportunities for your team. Connecting with your external customers through exceptional service is rewarding both for them and for you.

Day 17 Daily Connection Challenge:
Focus on giving exceptional internal customer service today. Make it your goal to have each coworker or group member walk away from their interactions with you with a smile on their face and a feeling of connection. Over the next 3 days, find ways to go above and beyond with external customers, creating a service experience that they will want to tell all of their friends about. Whatever level of customer service you normally give, make this about reaching that next level up.


Thank you for joining me for Day 17 of 31 Days of Connection! What is the best customer service experience you have had lately? Tell me about it in the comments! See you here again for Day 18!

10 Ways to Connect Through Employee Appreciation

Welcome to Day 16 of 31 Days of Connection! To catch the posts you may have missed, click over to Day 1 for the links to each post in the series.

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Connect Through Employee Appreciation

We have already discussed why it’s important to connect at work. This post takes it a step further and applies to anybody who holds a position in charge of other employees, though it can also be applied to the coworker relationship. Connecting with employees in the form of employee appreciation shows them that they are valued members of the team, which leads to better working relationships and job satisfaction. A lack of job satisfaction is one of the main reasons that an employee will leave a job or start looking for new opportunities.

The more connected to you and the stronger the relationship an employee has with you, the less likely they are to look for another job. By showing employee appreciation, not only will you have loyal, hard-working employees, but with stronger relationships the work environment will be much more like a group of friends working together and sharing a common vision. And being happier at work means being happier at home as well. It’s win, win…win.

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10 Employee Appreciation Ideas

Some of the main ways of showing how much you appreciate an employee’s hard work are by offering a promotion or giving a raise. Many people do not actually have control over whether promotions and raises can be given out at a company, so I’m not including them in the 10 ideas.

I recommend taking a look at the 5 Languages of Appreciation at Work to help figure out which types of appreciation will be the best fit for your specific employees. Try using a mix of these 10 ideas to cover more than one of the languages of appreciation:

1 – Praise by Touch: When in the workplace, only appropriate touching is okay. This might mean using a fist bump, a high five, or a handshake to say congratulations for a job well done. Always pay attention when using these appropriate forms of touch. If you see any signs of it making an employee uncomfortable, make sure not to do it in the future or ask the employee if that’s okay with them to continue.

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2 – Tackle a Task: If you have the opportunity to perform a simple but annoying task for an employee so they don’t have to, do it and then let them know you took care of it for them. This could include things like sending a folllowup email, running an errand for the office, making a new batch of coffee, or some other specific work task that doesn’t require their skill or expertise. Be careful not to tackle a task that they really like doing or one that is a main part of their job, as this may lead to them feeling like you have a lack of confidence in their abilities.

3 – Public Praise: When an employee has a great new idea, or does an excellent job on a work assignment, or even when they have accomplished something significant outside of work, take the opportunity to praise them in a public way. This might be verbally in a team meeting or in front of another coworker or boss. This could also be done in an email that copies everybody on the team.

4 – Personal Praise: Take the time to write a personal email or a handwritten note to an employee. Express to them how much you appreciate how hard they have been working and praise them on some specific tasks they have handled. Try to make it motivating and encouraging. Keep the tone of the note professional.

5 – Opportunity to Lead: If the employee is doing well in a particular part of their job, or if you just want to challenge them to keep work interesting, assign either a new project or idea for them to be in charge of. Tell them why you are making them the lead as well as what your expectations are. And then let them run with it. Follow up and check in, offering assistance when necessary, but make sure you are allowing them to be in charge of some of the decisions.

6 – Treat to Lunch: Keep the lunch low-key and you can include more than one employee at a time. This could be a regular occurrence – maybe quarterly with different employees – as a thank you for hard work but also an opportunity to connect outside of the office. Use this opportunity to ask how they feel about the job, to get input and feedback, and to talk about what their goals might be. But also use this time as a way to connect personally by sharing about what things are happening in each other’s lives, even if they are more trivial/fun subjects like television shows and music, etc.

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7 – Company Perks: Offering perks to employees can be as inexpensive as you need it to be. Sometimes just sharing a simple perk to say thank you and keep up the good work is all that’s needed. This might be picking up Starbucks coffees on a chilly morning, giving a gift card to a favorite store or restaurant, giving movie passes, offering a discount for a local service or membership, or providing free coffee, tea, soda, etc. and/or snacks at the office. Note reactions to perks so you will get an idea of which ones are more appreciated by your group of employees.

8 – Acknowledging Events: Choose your favorite way to keep track, including setting reminders, of employee birthdays and work anniversaries. You could also acknowledge events as they occur, like weddings and births. If you don’t have the info already, email out a survey and make sure you get these dates from each employee. It’s crucial not to leave anyone out. Even if you are in an office that already celebrates birthdays and/or anniversaries in some way as a group, take the time to send a separate card, an ecard, or a personal email to tell that employee happy birthday or congratulations. It doesn’t have to be anything eloquent – simple is fine. The fact that you took the time and effort to remember these dates personally is what matters.

9 – Christmas Gifts: This may be tricky if you have employees that don’t celebrate Christmas, but even then, most do not mind if you celebrate by giving them all gifts! You may already do something as a group in your office. But do something personal for each of your employees for Christmas, no matter how small. Handmade goodies, gift cards, tickets to an event, or books are some great and simple gift ideas. The sacrifice of your time and a few of your dollars are the real gift.

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10 – Time Off: If your employees have worked extra hard on a project or gone above and beyond on their tasks or have even survived a busy season and are in danger of burnout, offer some unexpected time off. This is in addition to granting regular time off requests or holidays off. If you can spare them, tell them they can leave work a couple of hours early on a Friday to begin the weekend sooner or give them a half day off and let them choose when to take it, within a specified time range. This should be paid time off or it won’t really be showing much appreciation.

There are many more ways to show employee appreciation and work on connecting with the people who work for you or who you work with. How many of these have you already done?

Day 16 Daily Connection Challenge:
Find one or more ideas from the list of 10 Employee Appreciation Ideas and use them this week, for one or more employees. These can be people that work for you or coworkers and in a number of different settings like at the office, virtual, volunteer, co-ops, etc. Note the reaction of the employee and whether your relationship with that employee changes for the better.


Thank you for joining me for Day 16 of 31 Days of Connection! Have you experienced somebody showing employee appreciation to you in one or more of these ways? Did it make you feel more connected to that person? Let me know in the comments. See you here again for Day 17!

Connecting at Work

Welcome to Day 15 of 31 Days of Connection! Catch up on any posts you missed by clicking over to Day 1 where all posts in the series are linked as they are published.

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Connecting at Work

We’ve talked a lot about connecting with family and friends, but now we’re going to start branching out more. Let’s talk about connecting at work. “Work” might mean a variety of things: volunteering, working from home, working outside the home, teaching a homeschool co-op, church ministry, writing/blogging and more. When we talk about people that you work with, that can mean any group of people that you regularly see (even virtually) in a more professional role, outside of your family and friends.

It’s possible that you can do your job and only develop acquaintance-level relationships with coworkers while never having any contact outside of the work environment. You could still do your job successfully and even be well-liked by your peers and your boss. But that doesn’t help you connect with and improve your relationship with people. By connecting at work, you show that you are invested in the vision of the company, you are a team player, and you are a valuable employee.

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Even if you’re more of an introvert or uncomfortable with connecting with people you don’t know well, you can do this! Set yourself up for the right one-on-one opportunities to connect and plan ahead for interactions and conversations. Connecting at work will involve more than conversations; you have to be willing to really listen and to get past the surface and create an emotional connection. The more you connect with people at work, the stronger the relationships that are built, which leads to a happier workplace and loyal coworkers. It takes effort and practice, but it’s rewarding for you and for your team.

Day 15 Daily Connection Challenge:
Start with one coworker and have intentional conversations with them this week, trying to go past the usual “How was your weekend?” by asking more in-depth questions. Pay attention to their likes and dislikes and try to show that you have noticed as well as praise them for a job well-done or a professional trait that you admire. if you already have a decent relationship with a coworker, try bonding outside of the workplace with lunch or coffee or an online chat if you are only connected virtually. 


Thank you for joining me for Day 15 of 31 Days of Connection! What has been the toughest daily challenge for you so far? Let me know in the comments. See you back here on Day 16!

Connecting at Social Events

Welcome to Day 14 of 31 Days of Connection! If you’ve missed any posts in the series, stop by Day 1 and you’ll find all the links listed there. And sign up by clicking here to receive the posts in your email inbox.

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Connecting at Social Events

Social events are great for connecting with a group of people who already have something in common with you. This makes it easier to start connecting with new people or strengthening the connection with those you already know. But it means putting yourself out there and actually attending the social events.

We can focus here on somewhat smaller social events, but larger ones like charity benefits or weddings can be other opportunities to meet new people and see if you can create a new connection. Smaller social events might include a church outing, an outside-the-workplace team activity, a baby or bridal shower, a holiday party, or a family function. These social events might have a combination of people you know well, people you know only as acquaintances, and people that you don’t know at all. It’s the perfect time to maintain the connection with those you know well, strengthen the connection with your acquaintances, and start connecting with new people – all at once!

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Sometimes our lives get busy and we stop attending social events. For the sake of relationship development, it’s important to make time to attend some. Yes, that’s right – attending a social event can be good for you! The more you practice going out and connecting with and relating to others, the more you improve the way you connect at home as well as how you connect with yourself. You’re also modeling to your family or children how to build and maintain relationships. While it is important to spend time at home and work on family relationships, it’s also important to not cut yourself off from social events away from home.

Day 14 Daily Connection Challenge:
Accept an invite to a social event coming up in the next month, especially if you were on the fence about going – let this be the push that gets you to accept that invite. If you haven’t been invited to one, research and find one to go to, or create one yourself and invite some people to join you.


Thank you for stopping to see me for Day 14 of 31 Days of Connection! Leave me a comment and tell me what your toughest daily challenge has been so far. See you back here for Day 15!

 

Connect Through Hospitality

Welcome to Day 13 of 31 Days of Connection! Stop by the first day of the series to get all the links to the posts as they are published.

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Connect Through Hospitality

Hospitality is the friendly reception and entertainment of guests. In order to use hospitality for connection, those guests should be people that you are trying to build better relationships with. And though you can offer hospitality to a large group of people, for our purposes I suggest offering hospitality to smaller, more manageable groups so you have the time to have meaningful conversation with everybody.

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Hospitality used to be almost automatic – everybody invited people over. Somewhere along the way, this silly idea crept in that our homes must be decorated perfectly and meticulously cleaned with elaborate menu and activity offerings for our guests. What happened to inviting friends over at the last minute to a comfortable, mostly-clean, lived-in home, serving whatever you were going to eat for dinner anyway? Don’t let this the hospitality myths stop you from connecting.

Step on out of that comfort zone and try simple hospitality. It doesn’t need to be extravagant. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It doesn’t even need to be planned way ahead. It doesn’t have to be a meal. I like what Tsh from The Art of Simple says about it:

What I’ve learned is that hospitality isn’t about the state of my home or complexity of my meals. It’s about showing people I love them in simple ways. With coffee. Or beer. Or by allowing them into my mess so they can see that perfection isn’t a prerequisite to being loved by our family – not for us, not for them.

It means welcoming people in, no matter what.

By welcoming people into your home, you have a chance to really connect and build new and better personal relationships. You might even build better professional relationships if you take hospitality a step further and extend it to coworkers and/or clients.

Day 13 Daily Connection Challenge:
Plan a super simple way that you can offer hospitality to friends or family this week (Coffee and dessert? Afternoon tea? Watch a game and drink a beer? A crafting evening?) and invite them over. If schedules don’t allow, plan for when it will work or invite somebody else.


Thank you for joining me for Day 13 of 31 Days of Connection! I hope you are finding some encouragement to work on connecting more and better with those around you. See you again on Day 14!

Connecting Through Acts of Service and Kindness

Welcome to Day 12 of 31 Days of Connection! Find links to all the posts in the series as they are published on the Day 1 post. Have you signed up to receive my posts by email? Click here now to do it!

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Connecting Through Acts of Service and Kindness

Acts of service is considered one of the love languages that I mentioned in yesterday’s post. But we do acts of service and acts of kindness all the time for all sorts of different reasons, not just to express love and appreciation. Performing acts of service and kindness for people or with people is another great way to connect and strengthen a relationship.

Acts of service or kindness can be small or large. It might be small like taking somebody’s dishes to the kitchen or it might be larger like cooking a meal for a friend or even bigger like fixing a house or car. It’s going out of your way to do something nice for somebody else with no expectation of anything in return. It can be something that you do for one person or it can be something that you do along with others, for one person or a group of people. These are not random acts of kindness or service – those are great but do not help you build connection. These acts of service would be done for people that you are trying to develop or strengthen a relationship with.

When you perform an act of service or kindness for a person, the goal is to bless that person without expecting anything in return. Of course connection is a two-way street, but you will find that stronger connections and relationships happen with the right people naturally when you aren’t looking for reciprocation. And you’d be surprised how much it benefits you when you are only focused on how you can bless another person.

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Acts of Service Ideas

The best way to think of acts of service to do for family and friends is think about the things that they really dislike doing or never have enough time to get done, like doing the dishes, organizing a garage, cleaning up a yard, washing a car, getting the oil changed, cooking a meal, babysitting for free for an evening, etc. It can also be doing something when asked – it doesn’t have to be spontaneous or just your idea. Sometimes an act of service is about saying yes to a person’s need for help even when it is inconvenient for you.

Doing acts of service as a group is a great way to build connection. Not only do you bless the person you are helping, but you are building relationships with the people you are working with. This might be volunteering to build a home, cleaning up a neighborhood, cooking for an event, creating a website, etc. There are so many acts of service that a group of people can do and have fun while doing it!

Day 12 Daily Connection Challenge:
Perform 1-2 small and simple acts of service or kindness today for a friend or family member. Plan 2 bigger acts of service to do in the next week for somebody that you would like to improve your relationship with. Think of a group act of service that you could join in or help organize to bless somebody you know that has a need.


Thank you for joining me for Day 12 of 31 Days of Connection! Have a beautiful day and I’ll see you back here for Day 13!