Career Coach: Are You Really Connecting With People?

HR Associations Now September/October 2014

Ann Ranson, career coach, trainer, and president of Bottom Line 3 Marketing, shares advice on the importance of in-person connections to boost your personal and professional goals.

In today's world, it's easy to default to Facebook and texting. How do you ensure that you are really connecting with people?

Everything starts with your intention. When you make the decision to limit electronics in favor of human interaction, you are giving yourself a powerful gift. Recent research by Morgan Stanley shows that 90 percent of those surveyed keep their mobile phones within three feet of them at all times.

Step one is to put your phone away from you. Turn it off, unless you are contractually on call. After hours, check in once per hour, if you must. When you put your phone in a separate room, you send a signal to your family and friends that you appreciate and respect them. This simple act will improve your relationships and your personal well-being.

Why is maintaining in-person connections so important?

Humans are hard-wired for social connection. In fact, it's so vital that a lack of social connection is found to be as good a predictor of a shorter lifespan as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking. Research and statistics prove that people who have strong social connections are happier and live longer.

How can maintaining deeper connections benefit your career and organization?

A 2012 meta-analysis by Gallup of 263 research studies across 192 companies found that companies in the top quartile for engaged employees, compared with the bottom quartile, had 22 percent higher profitability and 10 percent higher customer rating.

Managers and employees alike need to understand these facts. Urge your association to implement practices that foster connection. All of your bottom lines (people, planet, and profit) will improve.

If you're looking for the next step in your association management career or seeking high-quality candidates to fill open positions, visit