We all send email. We all make phone calls. We all have meetings.
If you’ve ever worked in a large corporation, you’ve probably learned that it’s possible to go through all of these interpersonal activities and still feel at the end of the day that you didn’t really talk to anyone.
I think that making the act of connecting with other people part of your daily work fundamentally changes the dynamic of what you’re doing. Connecting with others (either through social media, through phone calls, or in person meetings) doesn’t remove the need that you have to do your “regular” work, but it does give you a reason to make your regular work something you would want to share with another person. Oftentimes just the act of having to explain what you’re doing can save you from going down a long road to your personal Abilene, where you’re not really sure where you are and how you got there.
It’s not hard to start connecting as part of your daily work. If you find it easy, great — you’re probably an extrovert and you’re probably doing it already. If you’re not an extrovert and you find the act of connecting to be hard or almost impossible, think about it in a way that makes sense to you. Send an unexpected email. Refer a job to a friend. Recommend a great book or a movie or a play to anyone who’ll listen on Twitter.
Just start. Because you don’t know who’s listening, who you’ll meet, and where it will take you. If you like nothing to change and no new opportunities to appear (a hat tip to Darin Persinger of http://www.productivityjunkies.com), by all means, do nothing. Or, take a chance and see what happens.