Women in leadership positions in credit unions: Making real connections

We’ve all heard about love at first sight. It’s a feeling you get that is amazing and you just know you want to continue this forever. What about in business? Do you ever meet someone, and you just know they hear you, get you and you want to create amazing things together? While it may not be love at first sight, it could be connecting on another level that is powerful and authentic.

Over the past few weeks, I have been introduced to some amazing women. Some were intentional introductions and some in a meeting or event. While all were women that I want to continue conversations with, there were two that I know I will continue creating amazing adventures with. Why? Simple … they have the same integrity, core values, ambition, and kindness. Sometimes we know why we don’t want to be in a business relationship with someone and that doesn’t always feel great. But when we know, it is a powerful connection, you nurture and watch for what will come from it.

Here are a few ways to make sure that the people you want to be connected to will want to connect with you.

  1. Be you and that means you have to be authentic. If you are interested in being connected with that person, it has to be a genuine interest. Nothing less will do.
  2. Find out how you can support them. Do you think that someone who has all the glory and fame did it by themselves? Everyone can use support, an ear to listen with and sometimes a shoulder to cry on. If you think you have nothing to offer, think again. You never know who is wondering how they can support you.
  3. Build relationships and of course build them before you need them. You can never tell when one of those relationships can help you and when it can help someone in your circle. Connecting people is an art and when done with intention it is even more powerful. I always said if I could have a business of simply connecting people with each other, I would be a happy woman.
  4. Be interested not interesting. Take a sincere and deep interest in others. I do it by asking questions and getting to know and understand what they do and why they do it. Yes, it can seem a bit daunting to others, but I always tell people that when I stop asking questions, it means I’m no longer interested. No one wants that now do they?
  5. And of course, stand out … that’s my “S” in Skirt … how will you stand out in this noisy world? How will you show what makes you unique? How can you be unforgettable? It’s the little things that you remember to do; send a thank-you note, a birthday card and even tagging someone in a post on social media. We sometimes make sharing us with others a difficult task when in reality, you are probably doing that anyway. Just do it a little more and to a few more people. When you treat people with kindness and respect, whether it’s the entry level person in a company, a server in a restaurant or the CEO of a corporation, you will stand out … and in a great way.

Now that’s all well and good when you want to create a positive environment for connecting. However, so many people connect in different ways and with technology, many times the connections, although very powerful, are not in person. How can that be? Can you really have an authentic relationship while never truly meeting that person?

Let me give you a few examples. The first is someone I consider a great friend and colleague. While we were “introduced” and I’m using air quotes, by a mutual friend, we live in two different states, and they aren’t near each other. We started out with emails, then a phone call and now it’s constantly connecting through social media, along with the calls and emails. But we also know when we have to have our calls to iron out situations that have come up that we know, our relationship is that solid and that safe. Last year, I got a call from her asking if I was going to be in town because she was scheduled to be in Dallas and for the first time, we met in person. No one would have known it was our first face-to-face meeting. It was two old friends picking up where we left off.

Another is a colleague, again introduced by a mutual friend, and we started chatting and again, before you knew it, he and I and his wife were like the 3 musketeers. We shared content and resources and if we never met in person, no one would be the wiser. And then, we found out we were both speaking at the same conference and when we all met, there was laughter and tears, and we wrote notes on napkins of who we needed to introduce each other to. The relationship is even stronger because we connected on so many levels in so many different ways.

And the last one is someone that I watched a webinar on LinkedIn. He and a good friend of mine had connected. He is across the pond and the two of them are in the same business. Their interview was great, and I innocently liked, commented and shared it. The next thing I knew, he had responded to my comment, connected with me and we decided that we too could do a webinar and share it with our own communities. While he and I have never met in person, we are connected and continue to build on that relationship through the magic of social media. We have scheduled time on Zoom to chat and as you can see, amazing connections and authentic relationships can happen online so let’s not give into that excuse … as so many do.

So, whether or not you are connecting in person or on social media or some other use of technology, you should always be authentic and sincere. People want to get to know the real you. Is there a way that they can connect with you? Are there stories you can share? Can you show your vulnerability?

JUST BE YOU … that’s it. Pure and simple. Don’t become that person that you think others want to see and know. Save that for the actors and actresses that are playing a role. You’re not. Being authentic and creating a connection is what makes it a powerful start to an incredible journey. People will follow you and want to be a part of you when they know that what you are sharing is real.

BE DIFFERENT – don’t be like everyone else. That doesn’t help you stand out or show your brilliance. You don’t have to be confrontational, but you don’t have to blend in either. I always say I’m not like everyone else … I’m way more awesome. Share that with others. It’s what makes them come back for more and continue building that initial connection.

And of course, BE MEMORABLE. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you say you are going to show up, do it. If you say you are going to find something out, find it. Don’t let people remember you for the wrong reason … the one that they don’t want to have a connection with. Let them remember you for introducing them to someone great or for sharing content before they even ask. Whatever it is, be memorable and the connections will keep appearing.

As Amy Poehler said, “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”

Judy Hoberman

Judy Hoberman

Judy Hoberman is President of Judy Hoberman and Associates, a company focused on empowering professional women. Her company combines Sales and Leadership for Women using the philosophies of her best-selling ... Web: www.sellinginaskirt.com Details