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TIN #032 - How Networking Improves Your Mental Health
Talking to other people will make you feel better
Good Morning 👋 - Greg here.
Happy Saturday to everyone who’s making new connections this week.
When I come across information on the internet that relates to networking, I love to share it with you.
This week, I’m sharing research about the impact of in-person conversations on your mental health.
While, mental health may not be your goal when you’re networking, understanding the impact of talking to people will help motivate you to have more of these conversations with your connections.
This issue takes less than 4 minutes to read.
Connect Online, Grow Relationships Offline
As I teach people my process for networking, one of the key steps is to take the connections you’ve made online and move toward an in-person conversation.
I believe we can’t get to know other people and develop relationships unless we hear their voice.
When I say in-person conversation, I mean either a face-to-face or voice-to-voice conversation. We can’t always get together in the same physical location, but we can talk to each other via phone or video call.
These conversations allow us to “hear” what the other person is saying.
We deepen our relationship with the other person.
The conversation helps us figure out how we can help.
It also makes us more than another online profile sending LinkedIn or email messages back and forth.
But there’s an added benefit to these conversations: They make us happier.
I stumbled upon research by the University of Kansas that confirms talking to one person a day can make you feel happier.
This study found that engaging in just one intentional conversation with a friend per day, such as catching up, can increase well-being and lower stress levels.
Further, the study suggests that it does not matter what the purpose of the conversation is, as long as it’s high quality and face-to-face.
Professor Jeffery Hall explains, “This study suggests that anyone who makes time for high-quality conversation can improve their well-being. We can change how we feel on any given day through communication. Just once is all it takes.”
The results of the study support the theory that conversation helps fulfill the need to belong, thereby reducing stress.
What does this mean for your networking?
In addition to helping you develop professional relationships, talking to people in-person will improve your feeling of belonging, reduce stress, and make you happier!
There are no downsides to having more in-person conversations.
The question is: How do you have more of these conversations?
Back in TIN #003, I broke down the process for setting up and having in-person conversations with a connection, but I want to highlight it here again:
Here's what to do:
When someone you have connected with online responds to your request to talk in-person, set up that face-to-face or voice-to-voice conversation. Make this easy for the other person:
Take charge of setting up the meeting
Make your schedule work around your connection’s schedule
This doesn't have to be lunch or coffee. It can be a phone call
If the phone call gives you more flexibility to get the conversation scheduled, use it
When you have the conversation, be the one who starts asking the questions about the other person. Remember, this ISN’T you saying something like, "What advice would you give me? How can you help me? Tell me what to do?
The questions are about them:
“What's new with you in the past month?”
“What’s happened in your life since we last talked?”
“What are you working on right now?”
“What problems are you trying to solve at work?”
“What have you accomplished recently that you are proud of?”
“What are you struggling with?”
Ask the questions and SHUT UP.
LISTEN to what the person says.
As you listen, look for opportunities to help the other person:
Make a mental note of what they could use help with.
Start thinking of ways you could help them based on the conversation.
Write these things down if you need to, but don't interrupt the other person. Let them talk.
This conversation should feel natural.
It shouldn’t feel forced.
Remember, you’re just talking to another human being.
Act like one.
What You Get Out Of It
In my process of networking, this step helps you focus on the other person and find ways to help her.
The goal is you help the other person and the other person will reciprocate and look for ways to help you.
You develop a mutually beneficial relationship with the other person, and she becomes an important part of your network.
However, this new research gives you an added benefit:
You will actually feel better just by having the conversation.
If nothing else comes from it, at least your mental health will improve.
This coming week, set up time to talk to one of your connections and focus on how you feel afterward.
Most likely, you’ll feel better coming out of the conversation than you did going in.