Have you ever walked into a store and felt like you didn't belong? Or that the outside promised more than the service inside? Or maybe it was the other way around - I remember meeting a very smart IT person, who actually spoke IT in my everyday language without making me feel like a complete moron. He had amazing ideas and I really was impressed at his vision and outside of the box thinking. What surprised me was when he told me where he worked. I knew the shop - I just hadn't been in because it looked old and dusty and didn't look like they would be at the cutting edge of IT. I mentioned this disconnect to him, and we had a conversation about it. They have since had a major overhaul and I am very happy to say they are now a lot more aligned on the outside to what they are really like on the inside.
I have been thinking a lot about connection lately - how do we connect with our people? Our tribe, our mates, our customers? how do we know we are hitting a home run or just home?
Amanda Palmer calls it 'tightening the net' - in her superb book The Art of Asking. She's referring to the metaphorical net of your fan base, your people. By talking with them, and seeing them, they get to 'see' you and they in turn buy into you more (read trust) and they then begin to look after you and even become your biggest cheerleaders. You ask for help, or opinions or whatever you need (Amanda did a lot of asking for couches to sleep on while touring) and by doing so you tighten the net that will catch you if and when you fall. Its about being authentic and real and doing the stuff that you feel good about - right down there in your belly.
Connecting requires you to know thyself well, so you can infuse your business with yourself and all that you believe to be true. If this sounds hard to you, the funny thing is it actually makes it a whole smack lot easier - you just have to be you pffft - no thinking about which way to do stuff, just doing what feels right and comfortable - with you.
How do you connect with your customers - well or is a work in progress? Slap on some other persons eyes and have a look at your business and see how well you are connecting with your fans or see where you are missing the opportunity to really show yourselves and deepen your connection. I would love to hear how you like to reach your people in the comments below.