The power of human connection for communications professionals

Authored by Tilak Amitava Chowdhury - Communications ConsultantI was speaking to someone very senior in the communication industry recently and he expressed his concern that we are losing the human connection in the deluge of social media and internet. It is becoming rarer for people to actually meet someone in person and not just interact with the digital avatars. Digital and social media tools are enhancers to help us stay connected but that should not and need not replace the human connection.I started working in the PR industry when we used the fax machine and went with hard copies of press release to have a conversation with the journalists in person and discuss story ideas. We were encouraged to go for lunch with one journalist every month, wherein we got to know the journalist as a person and it helped us develop a better working relationship. Covid changed that. We plunged into digital world whole heartedly in the lockdown era with digital tools but we lost the human connection. It is undeniable that digital gives you more reach but there is no denying that the depth of the relationship comes through human connection only.    So, how does one get to stay connected with people in person in today’s digital native world?1.      Industry get together eventsThe PR and Communications industry is blessed to have stalwart media forums who regularly organize training sessions and award ceremonies. It is a great way to connect with the entire fraternity. It is also a great way to boost your own social media by clicking pictures of the event with your comments and tagging the relevant people from your network. So, these events can not only strengthen your social media but also help you grow your real network by the potential to meet new people and opening a whole new world of possibilities. 2.      Meeting colleagues over a drinkMeeting over a drink after work is a great opportunity to connect with your colleagues. In one of my earlier companies, we regularly planned these meetings where we dropped our designations and roles, meeting as friends. It is a good opportunity to know your colleagues as people and not just the professions they represent. It is a good opportunity for the HR teams to organize such initiatives and if there is no company budgets for such events, it could be organized with individual contributions. 3.      Alumni meets Most companies have realized the importance of staying in touch and have started the alumni meets. It is important to attend these meetings as it helps to stay in touch with your earlier colleagues who have now started working in another organization. Every old colleague has the potential to offer a new world of opportunity. It is important to not be out of sight and out of mind. And the only way to do that is to have regular human connection. 4.      Community GatheringsAs a Bengali, the Durga Puja celebrations are always special to me. It is a great time to meet friends and enjoy good food. It is also a time when one can get to know of new opportunities. It is very important for us to remember our roots and cultural values. It helps us connect with people at a very different level and know them well. 5.      Support a social causeAny social cause is a great unifier. Be it working to raise funds for community development to preventing cruelty to animals, there are lots of people from different backgrounds who come together for these causes. It is a great opportunity to identify the causes that one connects best with and attend activities aimed at creating a better world. In the process it may help us find ourselves and help us grow.6.      Join fitness activitiesIn Mumbai, we used to have football sessions every Friday which was attended by many friends from the advertising fraternity. It was a good way to meet many new people in person who were our potential colleagues and bosses in the future. Gyms and marathons are a great way to connect with new people who share your passion for fitness. Running a marathon is a great way to feel the positive energy of so many enthusiasts who are passionate about their wellbeing. ConclusionDigital and social media are integral to our lives today. But, it does not mean that they have to come at the cost of human connection. In fact, it will give us better connections if we are able to leverage both in person & digital connections and create a more holistic human experience. The more people we know in person, it will only motivate us to get inspired by their stories and create better digital content for our platforms. So the next invite you get for in person event, just go for it. It may open a whole new world of opportunities for you.