Operation Opportunity and the A – Z Blog Challenge: C is for CONNECT

Opportunities rarely come in isolation.  Most opportunities reach us through other people in our lives.  The more connected we are with others, and the more we share our desires with others, the higher the quality of the opportunity.  Develop, maintain, and leverage your connections and then seize the opportunities those connections bring.

When we seek for connection, we restore the world to wholeness.

Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary we are to each other.

Margaret Wheatley

Below are 21 Tips for Building Connections with Other People.  As you read through the tips, gather 5 that would enhance your relationships and open up new connections for you then put a plan into place to practice these tips.


Tip 1:  Talk to Strangers.  People are put into our lives for a reason, but you will never know that if you do not reach out and simply talk to “strangers”.  Make it a point to speak to a “stranger” each day and find your connection points.

Tip 2:  Make Small Talk & Listen.  Strike up a conversation about anything and then see where it goes.  When we open the doors of conversation with others we are taken for a mini-journey into their world.  Listen to what is happen with them and be ready for the opportunities their world brings into yours.

Tip 3:  Drop Names.  If you are looking for a connection to an individual, bring up their name with others you are speaking with, perhaps they can help you reach that person.  Do the same for others, if you know someone who would help another on their path to success, be the bridge and connect the two individuals.

Tip 4:  Eavesdrop.  There is nothing wrong with eavesdropping when another’s conversation is shared openly.  If an opportunity resides in the information you over hear gracefully enter the conversation and seize the opportunities that exist.

Tip 5:  Ask for or Offer Help.  It is difficult for others to know how to help us unless we simply ask for what we need.  Be open with the individuals in your life and ask for help.  Be as specific as you desire and be open to what they offer.  In the same way offer your assistance to others, especially when they ask and you know you can provide it.

Tip 6:  Stray from the Path.  Opportunity may be sitting in the coffee shop one block over from your standard morning stop.  Stray from your well beaten path and see what awaits you elsewhere.

Tip 7:  Make Gracious Exists without Burning Bridges.  There are times when we need to let go of opportunities so we can pursue others.  Making a graceful exit is not always easy, but most are so necessary.  Maintain the connections with previous opportunities by building a bridge between the past and the future.  A new opportunity for you does not need to be a loss for another.

Tip 8:  Master the Art of Openness.  There is often a fine line between openness and showing all your cards.  There is also a fine line between openness and too much information.  Share what is mutually beneficial and maintain confidential what could be compromising.

Tip 9:  Pay Attention & Be Open to Opportunity.  Pay attention to your surroundings, to the changes taking place, to the information being shared and the information lying just below the surface.  If your company is announcing a change, seek the opportunity for your own personal and professional growth beneath that announcement.  If people are not ready to share the opportunities present what you see as opportunities and how you are the person for them.

Tip 10:  Be Approachable, Smile and Make Eye Contact with Others.  Nothing is more approachable that a smile and eye contact.  No matter how uncomfortable you may be under the surface, put on a smile.  A smile will put yourself and others at ease.  It will welcome engagement.

Tip 11:  Do Good Deeds, Say Kind Words.  We want to see opportunities go to those who deserve it.  Be the one who deserves the opportunity because you have been the opportunities to others.  When we do good deeds and say kind and true words we show that we can seize opportunities not only for our own personal gain, but for the betterment of others.  Be the opportunity for another in your deeds and words.

Tip 12:  Create a Network of Associates, Colleagues, Friends, Family, and Co-Workers.  Before we can work our network we need to create a network.  For each goal in life know who your resources (or network) are.  If you find you are lacking in a certain area, perhaps you are looking to start a business and could use an accountant, seek out an accountant to join to your network of business associates and colleagues.

Tip 13:  Stay in Touch with Your Network.  Do not only stay in touch with your network when you need something, but when you need nothing at all.  Regularly meet for lunch, coffee, or happy hour.  Don’t keep your network to yourself, but bring like-minded people together so the network of all is expanded.

Tip 14:  Supportive YAHHH! Sayer.  One of my management mantras is “everyone needs a cheerleader.”  Be the supportive one who cheers on your colleagues, associates, direct reports, family, and friends.  Ask what they need to continue their success or build upon it and provide what you can.

Tip 15:  No Prejudgments.  Expect the best in all situations and opportunities will reveal themselves in unlikely situations.  See the positive in unfortunate situations and you will be one of the few, if not the only, to seize the opportunities and turn negatives into positives.

Tip 16:  Follow Up on the Leads, Ideas and Connections Offered by Your Network.  In order to keep your network working you need to be responsible and grateful for the leads, ideas, connections and opportunities they provide.  Nothing will turn off the flow of opportunities quicker than inactivity on your part.

Tip 17:  Be Positive.  When we approach all situations with “a glass half full” approach we build our ability to be creative and come up with innovative approaches to life.  This creativity will flow into an ability to creatively and innovatively seize opportunities and draw people to us.

Tip 18:  Embrace the Counterintuitive.  Sometimes we need to do what others would not most likely do to make the connections that open up opportunities.  Sometimes when we think we are making all the right moves, but not getting the results we see we need to do the opposite.  Sometimes we need to stray from the path most traveled and blaze our own trail.

Tip 19:  Strong Supportive System.  Not all opportunity pays off.  Some can knock us for a loop.  One of the key factors in build resilience is having a strong support system.  When we have people who believe in us when even when we have failed we have support that reminds us we have simply found something that did not work and can apply that learning to a better outcome next time.

Tip 20:  Extraversion.  If you are an extravert you are already good at this so I will write to the introvert.  There are times when we just need to play the role of an extravert.  The easiest way I have found is to smile and be curious.  Open up conversation and let it flow, ask questions about what the other is talking about, find the connection between you and the other.  And most importantly learn and use the others name in your conversation.

Tip 21:  Say what you really feel to the people who are important in your life.  There is a need to authenticity and transparency with those close and important in our lives.  This lets people in and builds trust.  It is the best way to establish and maintain connection with those we value.

Which of the above tips are you really good at?  Please share what you do well already and how you could use this tip this week to open up more opportunities in your life.


Add Yours
  1. Jessica

    This was a great post! I am a pretty introverted person, so sometimes connecting (with strangers, anyway) feels really daunting. But these tips are a wonderful guide – I’m going to start doing a few at a time and see where it takes me. 🙂 Thanks!

  2. Cindy Dwyer

    I’m definitely a talker. My daughter once said I talk to everyone “including the dust bunny in the corner of the room”.

    I’ve had great conversations on train rides, flights and even in line somewhere, that have left a lasting impression on me.

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