I have an ongoing fascination with how technology has changed the way we do business and affects how we connect and communicate, and this fascination was peaked after reading Yaro’s last article.
Having only started my adventure into this online world in the last two years, I’m always learning so much from reading the articles posted here. As I spend time on this blog, and the more I see of the connection between Yaro and the readers, I get to see how Yaro models running a successful business in the new economy.
Today’s economy is a technology-based economy. It’s constantly evolving through the Internet, nanotechnologies, information and telecommunication technology and bionics. I’d like to share with you my observations of some of the elements I see that make up a successful model. They’re elements that are often unspoken, yet crucial to success in today’s hyper-connected world.
These elements are:
- Blurring the lines between business and the rest of your life
- The Gift of Vulnerability and Connection
I couldn’t think of a more succinct way to say, “blurring the lines between business and the rest of your life” but I think you get the idea. I’m referring to the ever-present element in business nowadays where your customers want to know more about you, they want to know who you are beyond just the business persona. This isn’t something new.
When you think about it, humans once lived in small, local communities and traded with people within these small communities. Everyone did know a lot about the people they did business with. There were no clear lines between business and every other part of life. This served a very handy function, because you were able to gauge the level of integrity and value of a person in business by observing and interacting with them outside of their business persona.
(Rural communities are still like this; I grew up in one and I’m currently writing this blog post from a property in rural Australia where I’m looking after my brother’s animals whilst the family are away.)
The blurring of the lines between your business persona and who you are in other areas of life is a crucial element in today’s economy because it’s needed to build trust and create connection. What this does essentially is create more transparency and allows your customers to have a personal experience of you in your personal life, which helps them gauge the level of your integrity and authenticity.
Even more importantly, it facilitates our primary need for human interaction and relatedness. Today’s economy is global and runs largely online, so your clients can’t get a good sense of who you are outside of business unless you share it with them.
Most of us have a common preconception that people will put on certain “appearances” if they want to be perceived in a particular way. This isn’t an unfounded belief, it’s precisely how we often behave. So we’re wired to be somewhat distrustful and sceptical about other people’s business personas, because we know they’re not necessarily a complete representation of who they are.
This is why it’s so important to allow your customers to see more of you than just your business persona, because it’s those aspects of the rest of your life that will create the greatest level of trust and connection between you and your clients.
I read Yaro’s recent post, and was amazed and touched at how many people responded to his very open appraisal of what’s been happening in his personal life lately. Yaro’s article gives a great example of how to walk the line between remaining professional yet still communicate with others in an open and candid way that facilitates a greater sense of connectedness and relatedness. And reading peoples comments shows how much this is valued by his audience.
Of course, transparency doesn’t mean sharing the most intimate details of your personal life with your clients. Even in the days when humans lived in small local communities, this didn’t happen unless you were married to the town gossip who would broadcast the family secrets daily : / Transparency simply means sharing some of who you are in your personal life, including and especially the challenging experiences, so that clients can have a greater sense of connection and relatedness to you.
The Gift Of Vulnerability
I say “ especially the challenging experiences” because it’s those experiences that show others our vulnerability. If you want to know what creates connection more than anything else, it’s showing some vulnerability. Again, I don’t mean becoming a bleeding heart that pours out its troubles endlessly. Simply showing others that you have real struggles and challenges in life and things are not always perfect is one of the greatest gifts of humanity you can give, and it has a powerful impact on others.
Social media, like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and blogging are the most commonly used channels of communication that blur the boundaries of business and life. All of them are highly effective if you know how to balance being professional whilst still sharing openly and authentically from other areas of your life.
Living in small local communities has morphed into living online in communities we’ve chosen. The online communities we choose create the space for us to have a variety of interactions and connections; much of it comes down to fulfilling our primary human need for connection and relatedness. It’s a different version of connecting and communicating, but essentially serves the same function.
The intricacies of human connection go a lot further than this. There’s a great TED talk by a research professor named Brene Brown if you want to look into it more.
The main thing to remember as a blogger, is that you have a gift you can give your audience that will have a far greater impact on their perception of you than anything else you say. This is your ability to share aspects of your life (like personal challenges and difficulties) that facilitate a level of connection that we rarely give ourselves permission to experience. And the rarity of this in life is part of what makes it so appreciated.