it’s innate. part of being human. part of being mammals. it’s core to the life of a social being and something we can’t shake. we crave and seek after connections. they give us energy, a sense of belonging and rootedness, a value and worth. it is the connectedness between us that makes us feel alive and makes everything we do that much better. what good is any moment or life experience if there is no one to share it with? meals are no fun alone. you can’t very well play tennis by yourself. without connections there would be no one to call to share the good news of a promotion with. no one to dance or frolick in a field with. connected-ness is the lifeblood of business and of a life worth living.
i find that what people are most often after in both personal and business relationships is that they are known and understood, valued and appreciated and that they are given voice. in my work as a photographer, i am keenly aware of this reality and the effects it has on my relationships with my clients. recognizing and paying attention to this reality, allows for me the space to find a point of connection. be it a common love for yellow labs or yogurtland or a penchant of ace ventura and fine wine, finding commonalities makes for better photos. why? well, it eases tension, creates an opportunity for more compelling story-telling, and it creates a bond (even in it’s smallest form) that draws me and my clients closer. not only that, but finding a simple, seemingly mundane and insignificant point of connection can serve as a place through which i can enter into deeper conversation and connectedness. it is within that space, that we are able to create more profound and emotional imagery. and of course, it aids in creating trust and reinforces our commitment to them and to photographing who THEY are. asking good mearningful questions and listening intently to the answers gives us an upper edge because it strengthens our bonds and gives us a deeper understanding of who they are. and of course, a willingness to be vulnerable and share with them our lives creates access point for connection and deeper understanding and relationship.
furthermore, earlier this week, i went to a photography conference called escalate live. and in the parking lot, a woman asked me if i was going to escalate and if this is was where we were supposed to park. i thought so but wasn’t sure and said we could ask when we checked in. she parked and i started walking toward the door. then, it hit me. this was a point of connection and if i was smart, i would not let an opportunity to connect slip away. so i stopped and waited for her, and we commeserated in our confusion about where to park. next thing you know, we are having coffee and talking shop before the conference started. from there i found out she was a newbie photographer and this was her first conference. i was able to share some insight with her over coffee and usher her into the community by introducing her to my other photog friends. all because i noticed an opportunity to connect and acted on it.
the reality is, we are all secretly searching for a way to break the ice. some are better at it than others. but it’s a skill that can be learned and improved. it requires perception, intuition and a willingness to push through the awkwardness. but the funny thing is, that more often than not, the other person is grateful you made the move. and sure sometimes, you will get rejected or shunned, but to pass up an opportunity for a new friend, or a possible business connection is far worse. even if it’s nothing more than making someone’s day by complimenting their hair-cut, it’s worth the risk of rejection and moment of awkwardness. i need to do that more. who’s with me? we are human. we want to meet new people, we want to feel noticed, and we seek interconnectedness with other humans. it’s just how it is people and by naming and location that reality, it gives us permission to face it and use it to love well and create better experiences with our clients.