Meaningful Online Connections

5 Ways to Create Meaningful Connections in a Virtual World

This list was initially created for students embarking on a new career during covid-19. It also includes EQ techniques helpful for everyone.

  1. Connect with intention.
    • Before engaging with someone online, take a step back and ask why you are doing so.
    • What is the purpose of the interaction?
    • What are you hoping to gain or give?
  2. Make it all about them.
    • Listening is an essential ingredient in effective communication, online interactions included.
    • Listening also provides a much needed break from monotonous internal dialogue.
    • In a virtual world, “listening” often takes place through reading and staying open to another person’s perspective. No matter how different.
    • From “Me to We”
  3. Do the people research.
    • The first thing I do before I engage with someone online is read their page – literally!
    • I read their “About Me” biography. Plus their comments and interactions on social media, blog posts, and articles. And if available, I listen to their interviews and watch accompanying videos.
    • I love learning about the people I interact with. Especially their strengths.
  4. Do the company research.
    • This is where I get curious about what makes a company tick!
    • The people, the history, the economics, the geography, the philosophy.
    • The company’s motto and theme song (check out their facebook page).
    • Pick up the phone and talk to the receptionist and administrative assistants — the pulse of the organization. And if possible, engage with front line workers and management.
    • This is also the time to assess if the company’s core values match up with your own.
    • Is it a good fit?
  5. Create a need for your services.
    • What makes YOU .. YOU?!
    • What makes you unique, different, quirky, goofy, all kinds of wonderful?
    • This is the part of the online interaction process where your personality wraps around your talents, education, and abilities.
    • For example: when I was a kid, my Dad always said: “Andrea, you better get a job where you get paid to talk” because.. I couldn’t stop talking! (you should have seen my grade 8 report card)
    • This is why I come alive in the classroom but would fade away in a research lab.
    • What parts of your personality make your skill set stand out?

Your Turn: How Do You Create Meaningful Connections in a Virtual World?

Watch 3 min Video of Post: Click Here

42 thoughts on “Meaningful Online Connections

  1. I had to smile at your dad’s advice! And you obviously listened and played to your strengths. Such wise words here Andrea. Research is everything and like you I also like to check out a person’s About Me page as well as their general interactions. It gives me a feel for them and whether we’d be friends in real life too! Connection is everything, both in the online world and in the real world, sometimes it happens instantaneously and we “click” and other times it evolves as we get to know a person. I have a feeling we would just click! Great video. xx

    1. So true about how some relationships take time to warm up. While others just “click” (great play on words). And the best of both worlds is when the chemistry is good from the start, and then continues to deepen over time. And given that we live 14,150 km away from each others, and our friendship continues to grow – I would say that we have the best of both worlds Miriam! From Canada to Australia and back again.

      p.s. My dad loves to talk too!!

    1. I feel this ^ in all our interactions!! Grateful share a community with you Syl. Your words and music and photography you share on your blog (including your comments) leave me with a HIGHER state of MIND. 🙏 ✨

  2. Hi Andrea, thanks for sharing.

    I’ve been thinking a little bit about this topic recently- firstly around making meaningful genuine online connections and secondly around the humility to hold yourself back.

    My focus has more on making it about them, so engaging by responding to thoughts, supporting and sharing work.

    I think one of my issues with online relationships is how easy the can break, someone just disappears or they suddenly start ghosting you after being in dialogue. It’s made me more cautious especially with the amount of giving on one side.

    Which brings me to humility, at the end of your video you mention about putting yourself out there – I’m absolutely terrible at hyping my work up (both from blogging and the workplace). This has resulted in missing opportunities from someone more eager to sell themselves. Its something I’ve decided to work on without feeling uncomfortable.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, its helped get me thinking.
    James

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to reflect on this topic James.

      So much of what you have written stands out for me. Especially the part about RESTRAINT.

      I have unbridled enthusiasm for just about every area of my life, and with COVID-19 and the 24/7 virtual reality of both my job and my personal life — I have vowed to reign it in. (at least until march 20 – I give myself mini, achievable goals)

      Because as you shared in your comments, not everyone 1) appreciates or 2) reciprocates the time and energy that you give.

      And it’s up to us to continually re-evaluate which connections we want to hold onto and which ones we need to let go.

      Thank you again for your thoughts James. YOU HAVE ME THINKING! So much so that I wrote a note on my fridge reminding me to be more cautious with what I give online and in person.

      Wishing you a wonderful weekend!
      Andrea 🌷

    1. Laughing as I type this! Extroverted as a child, and still at work. Much quieter in my private time. It helps me recharge..

      I am currently teaching over 200 psychology students online, and my experience with blogging helps me convey emotion and interest in both our blackboard live exhanges (this is zoom for the classroom) and on our discussion boards for each of my classes.

      Your Turn: How do you create a personal experience with your followers online? Do you use the same techniques as you do in person?

      1. I can see how blogging might help with the instruction. The experience online can be so different than person to person IRL.

        My turn? Okei… This is a challenging question, really. No, of course I do not use the same techniques as person to person contact. In person, people are able to make more assumptions about the other based on body language, state of dressing, posture and hmmm whats the word – inflection (?) of the voice. Online, there isn’t that. Only that image which the person wishes for others to see. So there is a layer of inauthenticity which one must navigate through firstly.

        As for me and my followers? Well… maybe should not say this loudly but I firstly always visit their websites. Not just a singular post but read many that can have a concept of what is important to the person before interacting. If, once I have established that this is a person I would like to make friends if were person to person as opposed to online, then I follow those and make the effort for liking and commenting on their posts. Sometimes they are not interested in having that connection and sometimes those are. More times than not I find myself being chatty with wonderful online friends (as I have just displayed here).

        1. Mliae this is so helpful! For both myself and my students.

          I am currently teaching a course for the first time called “Psychology of Wellness” and during Week 7 there is a section on Healthy Relationships & Communication.

          And I thought what better place to go for research than to my blog followers – as they are gifted online communicators!

          I am so grateful that you included this:

          “Firstly always visit their websites. Not just a singular post but read many that can have a concept of what is important to the person before interacting. If, once I have established that this is a person I would like to make friends if were person to person as opposed to online, then I follow those and make the effort for liking and commenting on their posts.”

          This gives the control back to the online creator and helps tremendously with the pressures of information overload.

          It also shows sincerity and authenticity. Which shines through on your blog and posts.

          Thank you so much for taking the time to reflect, read, ponder, and respond. Your words teach!

          1. Sure thing! It’s always good feeling when my own weird online habits can actually be of benefit. Who would’ve thought it?
            I understand you probably won’t share any kind of videos about this course online, but if you do, please inform so we can watch you make logical sense out of our weirdness.

    1. My pleasure! I would love to learn from you too.

      I am creating a new course in psychology of wellness at St. Clair College.

      One hundred percent online.

      And I need all the help aka real life examples that I can get!

      Especially from experienced individuals transitioning to virtual during the pandemic.

      Which of the connection techniques do you use to actively engage online?

      Either from the blog post or the accompanying video:

      I would love to know!

  3. Taking the initiative, risking failure–great words in a culture that’s everything but.

    COVID has made people scared and hesitant.

    Reminding us of the beauty, brilliance, and need for connection is so encouraging.

    My favorite–make it all about them. In a “Me First” culture, this is so not intuitive.

    Thanks for this, my friend. Truly inspiring words.

    1. “Make it all about them” Right?! And the bonus is that it is an INSTANT STRESS BUSTER because nothing is more consuming that our own pity party.

      We all have a story. I respect that… but what if… we leaned in and learned about someone’s else’s story for a change.

      And in doing so, we leave the (online) interaction:
      1) feeling refreshed by a new perspective
      2) gifted by a new connection
      3) enhanced by an authentic life lesson

      Thank you so much Dayle for taking the time to watch the video, visit my blog, and share the points that hit home for you.

        1. If wordpress had an audio function, you’d hear the joy in my voice Dayle! Transitioning to online teaching has been tough. That said: the saving grace is how much I have learned through blogging (especially in the comments). And how it is possible to convey emotion and make meaningful connections in a virtual world. Thank God!

  4. So true Dr Andrea..
    It is the intent …the giving attitude which matter most when one makes a connection….virtual or in real life…. unfortunately most people tend to create connections based on returns they expect …
    Stat blessed…😇😇

    1. “most people tend to create connections based on returns they expect”

      A point that Bold Blind Beauty also shared in the comments of my YouTube video.

      And how unfortunately in business relationships, too many people go for the “sale first” and people second.

      Which doesn’t always work out. Loyalty begins and ends in the heart.

      Another reason why online emotional intelligence (a skill that can be learned) is essential.

      Thank you also for taking the time to watch and comment on my video!

  5. I have tried to differentiate my blog and social media presence from other health and fitness blogs by concentrating on the mental and emotional aspects of getting healthy.

    There are so many blogs out there that talk about how to workout and what to eat, but not as many that deal with the difficulties emotionally, and how to dust ourselves off and get back up when we fall. I try to talk about WHY it’s better to be healthy and fit, not just HOW.

    I’ve learned a lot by following you and reading your blog and media. It’s through reading your material that I shifted focus to concentrate on the motivation and emotional aspects of health and fitness. Thank you for making me and my social media presence better!

    1. If only you could see my smile! Thank you so much for sharing “the story behind the blog story” and how blessed I am to have made an impact on the evolution of your work.

      Endurance and Perseverance in Health and Fitness (and Blogging) Requires Inner Drive. And meaningful online connections. Grateful to share this community with you!

    1. Thank you!

      I am curious to know which of the 5 online connection techniques do you use the most?

      Connect with intention.
      Make it all about them.
      Do the people research.
      Do the company research.
      Create a need for your services.

        1. The last one is for my psychology students embarking in a new career in covid-19.

          If you watch the video, it will all make sense. It’s all about soft skills and emotional intelligence in a “whole new virtual world”.

          This blog post will eventually be added to and integrated into one of my classes.

          And my students often learn more from fellow bloggers like you in the comments, than they do from me, their professor.

          CONNECTING WITH INTENTION
          Every chance I get..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s