It’s Time to Focus on “Long Distancing” by Alec Stern


As we find ourselves without all of the traditional opportunities to connect in business including face-to-face meetings, conferences, and routine office collaboration, we not only need to adapt but, even better, take this invaluable opportunity to step out of our routines and find innovative ways to connect.

Surrounding yourself with a strong group of people that you can rely on to share ideas, collaborate, and get feedback from is one of the keys to success in business and in life.   While we are practicing social and physical distancing, we have an opportunity to reset and refocus on what I am now calling, “long distancing.”  We all have our networks of family, friends, colleagues, coaches, customers, partners, and mentors.  And yet I cannot tell you how many times I hear the words “I just don’t have time to network.” 

No more excuses.  Now is the time to engage in “long distancing.”  Dust off your contact list.  Take some time to go through your memory, your email, LinkedIn, and other social channels.  Go back in time and start to reach out to those from your past who were most influential to your present.  It is time to re engage with your sphere of influence and come out of this challenging time stronger and better than ever before. 

But first, take this time to evaluate your virtual presence.  Polish your LinkedIn profile, update your website and social channels.  People you are reconnecting with will go to these channels to take a look at what you’ve been up to in order to prepare for a conversation.  

Next, remember, the most important part of reconnecting is actually connecting.  Lead the conversation providing value, being interest-ed and interest-ing.  Ask “What’s keeping you busy these days?  What are you working on?”  Provide the opportunity for individuals in your network to share what is most important to them.  Then ask them, “How can I support you?”  This is the power of authentic connections.   

Your assistance could come in the form of an ear, an opinion, a connection, and so much more. From there, they may ask, “What can I do for you?”  You need to be prepared to explain what you have been doing, what you are focused on and what kind of support you may need.  This is your opportunity to rekindle and strengthen your relationships with people who have played an important role in your life before while opening the door to brand new connections with others.  In other words, you may uncover one-on-one or two degrees of separation from each of your connections.    

I have been practicing what I am preaching here; taking this time to update my virtual presence and reaching out and reconnecting with many people in my network and from my past, and I have been amazed with the opportunities that have come from my doing so. I can almost guarantee you will be surprised at what will come from engaging in “long distancing.”  Once you begin, your world becomes larger, the wheels start turning, ideas and suggestions start flowing.

It’s go time!  Let the reset begin!  Take time now to engage in “long distancing” reaching out to your past sphere of influence and see what magic you can create in your present and future.

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