Imagine your event is THE place for connecting—for meeting like-minded individuals who are open to new ideas, ready to work together to change lives, eager to mentor others, and excited about new possibilities for your organization. Imagine your members faithfully attend year after year, and they tell others about your life-changing mission. They even bring Millennials. Imagine event attendance and membership are at all time highs…These wonderful things are the results of inspiration and high-quality connections, or HQCs. The sooner you connect people for productive, inspiring, uplifting purposes, the better off your organization will be.
What are High-Quality Connections?
Certain connections are just plain better than others. Some people lift us up while others drag us down. Some people put us at ease while others put us on edge. Psychologists distinguish human interactions as either high-quality connections, HQCs, or low-quality connections, LQCs. HQCs allow us to fully express ourselves, they withstand setbacks, and they open us to new ideas. In simpler terms, HQCs are strong, powerful, and sustainable. Much like inspiration, they make us open to new possibilities at the same time they spark action and creativity.
Here are just a few reasons why you need HQCs:
- attract and retain new members, including Millennials
- break the acquisition and retention cycle
- build loyalty and encourage advocacy
- increase productivity and creativity to change more lives
- sustain your organization for decades to come
- Dutton, J. E., & Heaphy, E. D. (2003). The power of high-quality connections. Positive organizational scholarship: Foundations of a new discipline, 3, 263-278.
LQCs by contrast kill inspiration and engagement, close our minds to new ideas, and leave damage in their wake. Consider how just one “bad apple” can destroy team morale in the workplace. Now think about how lots of these LQCs might affect the success of your event—in the form of poor attendance, lack of participation, failed networking events, and more.
HQCs vs Relationships
HQCs are not the same as relationships. Relationships are close bonds between people and include family, friends, and partnerships. They’re a powerful source of information, social support, and even health. But relationships are formed over long periods of time, and most people have relatively few truly meaningful relationships in their lifetime—perhaps as few as six. It’s simply not practical for your members to forge relationships in order to reach their goals and work towards your organization’s goals. You need action now.
HQCs can be created in an instant—in the hallway between sessions, for example. These micro-moments are defined not by their length of time but by their positive regard, mutual benefits, and sense of possibility. Luckily, people have room for lots of HQCs in their lives.
How to Build High-Quality Connections
Now that you know you want them, let’s talk about how to get them. Here are four pathways to forging HCQs with and among your base:
When members are engaged, they’re truly present at your event. They listen and participate, volunteer, teach, mentor, and contribute. They don’t just come for a certification and leave. You can encourage engagement with a killer brand experience at your event, and you can continue to engage throughout the year through your marketing. Communicate regularly with compelling triggers and targets. Broadcast emotionally engaging success stories and major milestones. Consider conducting feedback surveys or focus groups so you can continue to deliver what your members need most.
Your organization already has the tools, the people, and the knowledge to help your members achieve their business goals and change more lives. The trick is to make sure each member gets the help they need when they need it. Raising awareness is a good first step. For example, if you have a special session for CEOs, send them a personal invitation. Consider a new member orientation to help first-timers take advantage of all your organization has to offer. Don’t let connectivity end on the last day of your conference. Host regional events or maintain active online forums so members can help each other throughout the year.
Unless members are their true, vulnerable selves, HQCs can’t happen. Authentic storytelling is one way your organization can foster a culture of openness and vulnerability. Any forum that incorporates idea sharing is another (ex: panel discussions, roundtable luncheons, and Q&A sessions). Also consider unscripted networking events that allow members to let loose a little. A cocktail hour, golf outing, or game night might provide an arena for authenticity.
Connect inspired individuals to make even more magic happen! Consider creating an online forum before your event with different groups for CEOs, entry-level associates, or first-time attendees. Launch social media campaigns with event-specific hashtags. These pre-conference virtual meetings can help people connect better and faster in person. Interactive sessions at your event can facilitate teamwork by grouping people based on a particular issue they would like to solve. Incorporating a community project into your event can also build a spirit of teamwork.
High-quality connections are an essential part of the Inspiration-Connection Duality™. Humans are hardwired to connect, and we connect to feel inspired. As a purpose-driven organization you can fuel that basic human need and harness it to achieve your goals. Imagine the possibilities of creating HQCs among hundreds of inspired individuals!
Are you ready to tap into the power of HQCs? Let’s get started!
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