Tag Archives: connections

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Trusted connections

Trusted Connections In a New Age

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Are you apprehensive about taking the call, accepting a friend request from someone you don’t know, or opening an email message from an unknown sender? Trusted connections are more important now than ever before.

In a New Age

Occasionally I will take a call from an unknown, no caller identification, inbound telephone call. It is always a moment of risk and uncertainty.

Absolutely, I won’t know who is calling until there is a form of introduction on the call. I’m often listening for the connecting click, a familiar sound that means I’m being routed to telemarketing agent.

Sometimes as a voice begins speaking, I’m uncertain if it is a real person or a bot.

For pictures or social media, there are apps that apply filters, enhancing lighting, and change our appearance.

We have to be careful of fake products, imitations, and illegally cloned merchandise. Is the Louis Vuitton real, or a very cleverly produced imitation?

Even our food is becoming different. Is the Impossible Burger really possible?

Technology is writing a new script. People call it AI, or perhaps machine learning. Some experts will advise that those are two completely different concepts, yet socially people toss around the words synonymously.

Trusted Connections

Today your brand, your image, and your reputation will matter more than ever before. Trust is becoming more nebulous and at the same time more important.

In the workplace, we often consider the trusted advisor, the political currents around the office, and the latest message about benefits or policy from human resources. Are these trusted connections?

Marketing programs test the limits, shift your thinking, and make you wonder if there is a disclaimer in the fine print. Are these real users, or only a paid actor? We know the answer, but only when we pause to think it through.

If one thing is going to matter more tomorrow, it may begin with trust. The suggestion is that connections and community represent our future.

Who will you trust?


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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building connections

Building Connections Is More Than a Tactic

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Are you building connections? Friending someone on Facebook is a connection, yet it is does not ensure a human relationship. Who makes up your network and why?

People Connections

People attend business breakfast meetings, luncheons, and evening mixers. What is their reason or motive? In part, it may be to build relationships.

Why do people come away from the conference or convention feeling motivated and pumped up? It probably has something to do with the connections made or relationships built.

What inspires or motivates people in your workplace? It probably has something to do with the people, the environment, and the culture.

Building Connections

On-line or in-person people are often seeking a community. Communities of like interests, hobbies, or professions. People who have something to give, share, or gain from the interaction. It doesn’t make them fake. It makes them real.

The statement often is, “Everyone is in sales.”

Yes, it is true. We’re all probably selling something. Sometimes, more often than we realize, we are selling ourselves. That doesn’t mean a forced activity, it means building relationships.

Connection is more strategy than it is tactic. The tactical approach may be the literal part of a technological connection. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or many others. Friends, followers, and social networks. Your connection count is a tactic.

Think more strategic and less tactically.

In order to connect, you have to find other people. You have to arrive, engage, and take risks. You have to look for the opportunity in misfortune, adverse conditions, and economic challenges. Celebrate wins, good fortune, and growth.

Building connections are part of the strategy for growth.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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making connections

Making Connections in the Connection Economy

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Many have labeled our current economic climate as a connection economy. Considering that is a fair label, are you making connections?

So often we are focused on the product, the service, or other tangible aspects of our business. Build the best product. Have the best quality. Deliver the best service.

We do it in our careers too. Get more education. Have the most credentials. Achieve the best title. Make lots of money.

Business or personal, all these things are important. Yet, many businesses and people struggle to close the sale, struggle to get recognized for superior service, or struggle to find a new job or get that all-important promotion.

Questions to Ask

The questions may become:

“In a connection economy what makes growing companies grow?”

“In a connection economy what is important for the new job, career change, or advancement?”

The best answers may be as simple as it seems. Connections.

Many people suggest that society is shifting. Heads down, many stare at a small device held in the palm of their hand. A technology prayer.

Yet, humanity still seeks connections. In-person, or through technology, the social interaction often drives what happens next.

Making Connections

It becomes about who we think of when we need a new employee. It becomes about the brands and products we choose in a sea of possible selections.

The fastest growing companies on the planet are doing more than making things, selling stuff, or delivering exceptional service. Again, all those things matter but what matters in a connection economy is building strong connections.

Make good stuff, deliver great service, be the best you can be.

Be sure to connect.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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customer experience connections

Customer Experience Connections and Moments

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There are many labels for our current business climate. There is the connection economy, the digital economy, and my personal favorite is a label of, service economy. Regardless of the label, real customer experience connections and moments are more important now than ever.

When we think of connection, we often think of social media experiences. Connecting, friending, and following all wrap meaning around the social media experience. Those are really just faux connections though. Yes, they have some importance, but they aren’t the same as making a real connection.

Recently I was returning home after spending more than seven hours driving on the road. It was dark, cold, and I was hungry.

One of my favorite fixes for this is a carryout pizza. Just minutes away, I made the call to the pizza shop and arrived with precise timing.

Rush of Frustration

As I stepped out of my car, a pizza delivery person rushed around me from the side. He was talking to himself, mumbling something about kid’s behavior and their parents, and discipline. He must have just had a difficult delivery.

Although my day was long and hectic, I was tired, and I was hungry, I somehow felt this was going to be an interesting moment.

He rushed into the pizza shop, threw down his pizza bags, shed a coat, and stepped behind the cash register. I stood opposite him, waiting patiently.

He attempted to login and couldn’t get the code right, he was breathing heavy, and was obviously frustrated.

After a moment or two, he put both his hands out in front of him, palms down, and quickly swooshed his arms to both sides in a movement signifying calmness. He took a deep breath, looked up at me and said, “How are you doing sir?”

I said, “I’m OK, it’s OK.”

He said, “It’s been a crazy night, a crazy, crazy night.”

I said with a patient smile, “It’s all just moments. Just moments, it will be alright.”

His eyes shifted to the side in a moment of thought, then his shoulders dropped, he relaxed, he smiled, and we were, connected.

Customer Experience Connections

Sometimes when we say customer experience what we really mean is forming a connection. It is isn’t a like on Facebook, it isn’t a new follower on Twitter, and our network hasn’t just expanded on LinkedIn.

All of those things may cause a rush of dopamine in a technology-connected society. The purchase of a lottery ticket may do that too. The reality of outcomes sometimes makes us crave more.

A true connection is something different, a little more intense, and lasting.

Sometimes one of the best things to improve the customer experience is generosity. It doesn’t matter how your day is going, it matters more when you hold a door for someone, smile first, or make the moment more human.

These connections are valuable. More importantly, they are often repeated and shared.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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conference networking

Conference Networking, What Is Your Strategy?

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Today I’m speaking in Grapevine, Texas for the National Association of Credit Management. Much of the article below originally appeared as an article I wrote for Business Credit, the February 2017 issue. Are you skilled at Conference Networking? What is your strategy?

Another conference or business meeting, you arrive, you go to the registration table, and wait patiently for your turn to watch the check-in person search for your name tag. You get a lanyard, maybe a sticker or two, some program materials, and a bag to carry your stuff around for the next few days. You have arrived.

What you do next will determine the amount of success you achieve from this event. Certainly you’ll intend to learn something, have some food, and meet a few people, but have you considered identifying specific goals? Have you mapped out what sessions you’ll attend, what you want to learn more about, or how many people you want to add to your network?

Have you thought about your social prowess, how you’ll connect and engage with people you might already know and especially how you’ll approach meeting someone new?

Some people argue that our society is becoming less social. They argue that the younger generations are more connected to their telephones or technology than actually building personal or professional relationships. What do you think?

I believe our definition of social is changing, I believe the depth and understanding of our professional relationships are changing, and I definitely believe that some people are taking full advantage of the opportunities presented by this changing environment and others are watching from the sidelines still trying to sort through what will become their next move.

I believe you have to get strategic.

Conference Networking

Conferences and other live face-to-face events represent a wonderful opportunity to grow your network, but you probably won’t achieve much growth by only watching.

Let’s start at the beginning, what are your goals for the event? Yes, goals, I’m sure you’ve probably heard the meme, “what gets measured, gets done.” If you’re going to make the most of this opportunity you’re going to need a few goals, and you’re going to have to consider both strategy and tactics to accomplish them.

Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Number of new people to meet. You probably should have a number in mind. This can be as simple as two or three, or many multiples of that number. If you are going to be at an event for multiple days it probably is a good idea to have a daily goal.
  2. Strengthening relationships with past acquaintances. Whether you are a first timer at this event, or coming back for your fifth consecutive year it might be valuable to circle back to someone you’ve met in the past. This also applies to people who you might occasionally connect with on social media, through email, or by telephone, but often lack the opportunity for the face-to-face.
  3. Who can you help? While this might seem shocking, your intentions should include a focus on whom you can help. Too often people are only interested in meeting someone who can do something for them, and are not often considering what they can do for others. Make sure at least part, if not all of your outreach has an element of what you can do to help someone else. Your network will live, or not, by the principles connected with reciprocity.
  4. Leveraging opportunities. Most conferences have built-in social time. This might be centered on breaks between sessions, meals, or other scheduled activities. Don’t miss opportunities to choose a session seat near someone you don’t know, greet someone in the lobby or conference hallway, and choose areas to be present that will allow more opportunities.
  5. What is your message or elevator speech? Make sure you have a short; one to three sentence introduction and that you are prepared to use it. However, your best success will not come from your interest to tell someone else what you do. It will come from being very interested in what they do.

Get prepared to cover the basics and then take things to the next level. The basics would include wearing your name badge, keeping your head up, smiling, being interested and inviting, carrying business cards and using them, asking for business cards from others, and suggesting the idea of continuing your connection on social media channels.

Social Media Connections

Depending on your profession and how you use social media platforms you’ll find some people who are very shy and reserved about Facebook, it might be too personal. Twitter is a great platform for high activity social media users, but your best professional platform is probably going to be LinkedIn.

Allow me to provide a brief word about LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not a platform built just for job seekers. Sure there is an element of LinkedIn that supports that, but think of LinkedIn more like Facebook for professional connections. It is not Facebook and you shouldn’t be posting pictures of your vacation, your children or grandchildren, or your favorite pet, unless of course your business has a direct connection to these events or activities. Make sure you have a profile picture (one that actually looks like you), and that you have a reasonable amount of your profile completed.

Bridging Generations

Depending on the event you may be with many professionals of a similar age, in other cases it may be very diverse. Don’t let generational stereotypes, bias, or judgments negatively influence your ability to be effective with your outreach.

One of the stereotypes is that those persons representing the most recent generations are more into their smartphone and Snapchat than they are about meeting new people in person. Even if this stereotype seems true to you it could be all the more reason to make that outreach.

So often people become focused on generational differences when what they should be considering is generational commonalities. Your attendance at a conference is one of your best chances to increase and improve your network. Since your conference is most likely a live face-to-face event, use this opportunity to connect real-time. There are many things that all generations have in common; in this case the commonality is a focus on building and improving your network and relationships.

After the Conference

You’re not finished. You’ve survived, you’re excited, and your return trip gave you a few much needed minutes to unwind and digest some of the great content, strengthened relationships, and new found friends. Now what?

If you haven’t already done so, grab all of your business cards and make sure they make it into your contact management software, make the time to look up each and every one of them on LinkedIn or other channels, send personalized invitations to connect and follow up on any promises you made. If you suggested you would send them a link, do it, if you offered some additional information, send it, or if you suggested a follow-up telephone call schedule it.

You’ve made the investment, use a few minutes immediately following the event to collect your thoughts, debrief (yourself or others), and be sure you tie up any loose ends.

Make it Strategic

Practice makes perfect, but many professionals will only get to one or two major conferences per year. If this is you, you’re going to have to be sure that you are strategic in your approach. It’s far too easy to arrive at a conference, go through some of the motions, hit a few breakout sessions and exchange a business card or two from some chance encounter that you simply stumbled upon. Then you return home with only the memory of the person on the airplane who occupied half of your coach class seat, the speaker who made you laugh or cry, and the quality of the food in the buffet line.

You and your network are worth more than that.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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