Ps and Qs Education

Make the right connect

Photo: Freepik

Photo: Freepik   | Photo Credit: Photo: Freepik

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When creating a network, ensure that you include individuals from all backgrounds

Networking is a frequently used word in the corporate world. But it’s not about the ‘how’ of networking that I am interested in today, but rather, the ‘who’. In fact, it is not even about networking, but who we connect with.

A colleague often talks about someone in the workplace who makes a difference to her day and turns a dull moment into a bright one by his little actions. It is not a team member, not a manager, not one of the senior executives, but someone who makes tea in the office cafeteria. This person, who she fondly calls ‘brother’ had taken the trouble to learn her preference for sugar and whenever he makes tea for her, it is always that very special cuppa, sweetened by his concern and friendliness. This gentleman, through his personalised attention, was making a positive impact on my colleague.

Often, when we connect with people with humility and openness, they can surprise us with a kind gesture. It is important to never underestimate our connections, and how they can help us in the most wonderful ways. It is critical not to be guided by titles alone when we connect. At the same time, our need to connect cannot be based on a selfish “what can I get from this individual?” element either. It is our inherent need to connect with fellow human beings. No man is an island, as John Donne succinctly put it. But when we create our network of islands, we need to ensure we include individuals from all backgrounds. Our security personnel, janitors, taxi drivers, cafeteria staff, can all be our precious connections. And these connections are not built on LinkedIn, but over smiles, greetings and mutual respect.

Connections count

Sometimes, it is easy to lose sight of these simple truths, of the power of a smile or pleasantry. All the more reason to remind ourselves that all our connections are equally precious and equally worthy of respect. Now even if we were occasionally motivated by the “what’s in it for me” principle, we will see that sometimes the most valuable information or help may be from the most unexpected source.

I also believe that in this endeavour, it is critical to have a keen eye, observe people and their behaviours. Some may be new to an environment that you both share. They may display signs of being lost or confused. Reaching out to someone new, offering a helping hand and connecting truly makes a difference. And such gestures are rarely forgotten.

Some of you reading this may be people-oriented. You may face no issues connecting and may even be popular. Then there are a few who may be introverts and it’s not easy for us to overcome our hesitation. Connecting to others could take longer but even then, it’s worth going through the effort because our connections can make our day, some day. If not with a cup of tea, then with a friendly smile perhaps.

The writer is a poet and heads corporate communications at UST Global, a digital technology company. @anupamaraju

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2019 2:51:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/make-the-right-connect/article29990932.ece

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