Reestablishing the Connection
by Erik Doescher
In about a week and a half, my family and I are heading to the beach for a much-needed vacation. Around the office, I’ve been joking that if all I do during this time is stare at a wall, I’ll be happy. But that’s not really true. What I’m looking forward to the most is spending time connecting with my wife and daughters, apart from the distractions of our everyday lives.
To truly connect with them, however, I know I’m going to have to be intentional about our time together. If I want our time to be meaningful, I can’t spend the whole vacation reading, zoning out in front of the TV, or sleeping on the sand. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I’ll do a little of that, but to accomplish my goal for this trip, I’ll also need to be proactive in at least three areas:
- Listening. As much as I hate to admit it, when life is rushed, our communication gets rushed, too. We tend to communicate the basics needed to get through each day, but we rarely go deep on subjects that matter. During this week together, I want to be present and truly listen to my wife and daughters. I want to hear what’s on their minds and listen for what I may have been missing lately.
- Sharing. I’m not typically a big sharer. As an introvert, I keep most of my thoughts to myself. To connect on this trip, however, I can’t just listen. I need to share my thoughts as well. If I get to hear all about what matters to my family, but they don’t hear anything from me, the connection will be one-sided. To get the most out of our time together, we’ll all need to both listen and share.
- Acting. We all know actions speak louder than words. As exciting as it will be to connect through conversation, if that’s all that happens, the goal of connecting will fall short. That’s because if we truly listen to each other during this trip, it should spur us to action. We should want to do things for each other that will help see our goals achieved and our aspirations realized.
As always, it’s interesting for me to see how my personal life parallels my business life. For me and for many of you, it’s easy to find ourselves feeling rushed and caught up in the busyness of everyday life. In our business lives, just like our personal lives, the pace of life can cause us to lose touch.
For instance, when was the last time you found yourself busy at work and just went through the motions of creating a new campaign? Or when was the last time you made an effort to truly connect with your customers about something meaningful vs. just cramming your products and services down their throats? And when was the last time you truly listened to what your customers were telling you, and acted upon it?
Perhaps there’s a better way. Perhaps taking some time out of our schedules to reflect on how we can truly connect with our customers by listening, sharing and acting is a better use of our time than rushing through our days so we can meet our self-imposed deadlines and check the boxes on our to-do lists. Perhaps to establish the type of relationship with our customers we want to have we have to spend time thinking more about what’s important to them than what’s important to us.
Perhaps getting away for a bit is what we all need.