Connectional Intelligence

Connectional Intelligence

How to Drive your Organization’s Life-Changing Work by Harnessing the power of Connections

Did you know you have traditional intelligence, emotional intelligence, and connectional intelligence? Researcher Erica Dhawan partnered with business strategist Saj-nicole Joni to identify how relationships can drive innovation and breakthroughs. What they discovered was connectional intelligence.

Beyond IQ and emotional intelligence, connectional intelligence relies on conversations and community to generate results. The team explains that while connectivity is an innate characteristic in humans, connectional intelligence “requires intentional use to be unlocked.”

Here are a few ways you can use your connectional intelligence to rally members, drive attendance, inspire connectivity, and achieve your organization’s goals:

1. Know your audience AND the current situation in the industry.

To rally people around a cause, you need to know a lot about them, what their concerns are, and what’s going on in the industry and in the world around you. Identify how what you’re doing fits into the bigger picture. Dhawan calls this idea “understanding your context.” For example, if your members struggle to do business in a particular arena, do they need PR and marketing help or do they need to lobby community leaders for a better business environment?

2. Don’t be afraid of difficult conversations.

our organization exists to change lives. You can’t accomplish meaningful outcomes if you don’t dig deep to get at the heart of your members’ concerns. Ask tough questions. Investigate. Take feedback to heart. Rehashing the existing conversation isn’t enough. Talk about the topics people are afraid to bring up. Be vulnerable and be amazed at what you uncover.

3. Invite people into your loop.

Once you’re clear about your context and mission, get others on board. Engage people emotionally with dynamic storytelling campaigns over email, direct mail, and social media. Sponsor events that matter to your membership. Ask for volunteers. Encourage participation at your annual events or at smaller local events throughout the year. When people feel connected they’re more likely to be inspired by your message, which fuels a cycle of connection and inspiration.

Using your connectional intelligence means you’ll have to cut through the “noise” of competing marketing messages and demands on your members’ time if you want to be heard. Knowing your audience and telling stories that resonate with their worldviews is a great start. Once they’re listening, your job is to continually inspire and connect so you can further your organization’s core mission.

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