I will never forget Sally. I met her online through a hiking group we both belonged to. She shared a similar vision and struggles to my life and we instantly connected. Soon enough, we knew things about each other that most of our friends and family didn’t.

I will always remember her. Have you ever had that experience?

I knew I’ve always valued connection, but what I craved was something deeper.

Human connection.

It made me think of all the people I’ve connected with and built so-called “relationships” with that I no longer keep in touch with.

Especially now that more relationships are built online, how do you create a deep human connection?

Certainly, I’d spent more time with many other people than Sally.

What made this experience different than others?

What is the difference between building relationships and having a human connection?

As humans, we crave a real soul to soul connection.

It’s a significant indicator of happiness.

Read this short fable and let me know if you come to the same conclusions. And be sure to read the lessons on how you can apply it to deepen your human connection through email.

Fable: The Single Woman and the Three Aspiring Boyfriends.

Once upon a time, there was a single woman named Claire who desperately craved a  soul mate. A good friend of hers (we’ll call her Ann) wanted this for her, too. Ann found three men she thought her friend might have a connection with and set her up on 3 blind dates. “One of these men has to win her heart!” Ann thought. She crossed her fingers as she anxiously awaited the outcome.

surfer_boyfriend1Aspiring boyfriend #1: Luke seemed the perfect boyfriend. And he  sent her the nicest messages before their dates and always planned them in advance. When they spent time together, he was always happy to see her. He was also an excellent storyteller. Luke was passionate about Surfing, and he’d tell her story after story about his surfing adventures. Claire was entertained by his stories and politely asked  questions to show she was engaged.

On occasion, she’d share something about herself. But Luke never asked questions or showed any interest in hearing more. She continued to try and share her thoughts and viewpoints. But he’d always direct the conversations back to him. In fact, he talked about himself all the time. After a few dates, Claire was bored and annoyed. His stories rambled on with no meaningful point. he never saw him again.

charmer_guyAspiring boyfriend #2: Benny was quite the charmer. He seemed fascinated by Claire. Quite the opposite of Luke, he couldn’t stop asking her questions. He asked about where she was from and her culture. He asked her questions about what she was looking for in life — how she felt about everything from her desires to struggles.

His words always got a response from Claire and he always seemed to say the perfect things. She was quite taken by Benny until she found out what his real intentions were. She never saw him again either and felt quite manipulated from the experience.

wholesome_looking_guyAspiring Boyfriend #3: By now, Claire was losing hope and didn’t want to go on any more dates. But Ann was persistent. “Just give the last guy a try.” So, Claire went to meet Paul. At first, Paul seemed hesitant as if he wasn’t quite sure what to say. But after a bit, he warmed up and eloquently shared his life story on their first meeting. He was very confident about how he viewed the world. And was radically honest and transparent about the good and bad.

Claire was quite moved and she saw character and dedication through his journey to stay true to his creative desires. Claire could relate to his story and was inspired to share hers. He was also curious about her, but in contrast to Benny, his questions came from a place of wanting to help her (he’d been through a similar journey). She couldn’t believe that someone had been through what she’d been through and didn’t feel alone anymore. She was ecstatic! Claire continues to see Paul.

How you can create a deeper human connection (Lessons from the Fable)

Even though nothing will replace the experience of face to face interactions, there are some tried and true lessons on human connectivity we can apply to online marketing

The opportunities in the digital age with video and the many other forms of media, make it possible to reach ever more kindred spirits. The opportunity for a serendipitous chance meeting in the digital space is multiplied.

1)    Know yourself

It’s important to get clarity on who you are and share it unapologetically. It sounds simple but it’s one of the hardest things to do. We are so bombarded by influences that it’s hard to know what others really believe in.

It’s important to get clarity on who you are and share it unapologetically. It sounds simple but it’s one of the hardest things to do. We are so bombarded by influences that it’s hard to know what others really believe in.

People that do this, stand out. Know your point of view. Especially in the online world where we’re competing for attention, a different perspective will grab attention. Don’t forget to support your POV with your values. And above all be truthful and transparent. Nothing breeds human connection more than this.

2) Be curious with the intention to serve, not sell.

Curiosity leads to thoughtful questions and engagement online. For example:

  •  Ask open-ended questions which invite the listener to reflect inwardly (why, how, and what)
  • You can start with “I’m curious….” if you’re unsure how to begin the sentence. Be lighthearted and inviting (don’t sound like you are interrogating someone)
  • Probe deeper when you get a response. Seek to find out why – the underlying emotion or belief that forms

3) Distil your deepest wisdom with brevity

Centuries ago, we only had paper and pen to communicate with each other. A letter carried by a horse traveling hundreds of miles to be delivered made every word sacred. Today, where we have too many words everywhere, brevity prevails.

I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead. – Mark Twain

4) Master the art of one -to-one writing

Like getting a personal letter in the mail, email writing needs to have that same feeling in order for the reader to enjoy and look forward to reading it.
A great exercise is to pretend as if you’re writing a letter to your ideal customer. (sample worksheet link)

5) Find your voice and share it consistently

Consistency and authenticity are essential to creating trust. If your emails are a different tone each time, people won’t know what to expect from you.

A great way to discover which of your qualities are most endearing is to ask your friends to give you three to five adjectives that describe your best qualities. Often, what is unique about you seems commonplace and is overlooked. Once you know what your best qualities are, infuse your writing with them.

6) Be interested before trying to be interesting

Don’t make the same mistake that Luke did and only talk about yourself. Seek to understand your customer first.

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