Connections enhance your wellbeing

  • Date posted

    Jun 01, 2024

  • Reading time

    Four minutes

  • Guest blogger

    Lisa Behrends, MA
    Speaker, Executive Coach, Founder of Intentional Connections

Connections enhance your wellbeing

At Navigate, we understand the significant impact of meaningful connections on your wellbeing, and we know that navigating these connections can be challenging. We recently had a conversation with Lisa Behrends, co-owner of Intentional Connections, to gain insight into making new connections, even when it feels a bit intimidating.

Gain insightful tips

Networking can include everything from an informal chat at a coffee shop to attending a specialized networking industry event. For many of us, this can be taxing and often uncomfortable. Some people do not like networking because it takes time. For others, it can be stressful to meet someone you do not know very well or know at all. Walking into a space that is unfamiliar and unwelcoming when you do not know anyone well can create stress and discomfort. In addition, men and women have historically had different rates of success and spaces for networking.

Networking is important to our professional success and finding a meaningful job. It is a wonderful way to meet people who may become your employers or business partners someday. According to Apollo Technical LLC, “80% of professionals find networking essential to their career success, almost 100% believe that face-to-face meetings build stronger long-term relationships, and 41% want to network more often.”

I believe the benefits of networking in your community can outweigh the discomfort when we truly have meaningful conversations with others. This principle applies to all of us, whether we are extroverts or introverts. What does having meaningful conversations with others look like? I have personally and professionally found value when meeting individuals for the first time or tenth time. When I am engaged in meaningful conversations the attention is not on me, but on them. One of the keys to networking is to view this as a give and take relationship; not just one-sided in handing out our business card and talking about what we do in our occupation.

I have also discovered that when we really get to know people with whom we’re communicating with, it demonstrates that we genuinely care about them as a person. Remember that “people don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care” (Theodore Roosevelt). When we get to know people outside of their job title and where they work this shows we care about them as people. It can be easy to forget that everyone has other roles in their daily lives outside of their workplace, such as being a parent, friend, volunteer, or coach. In other words, our identity is not just in our name badge and job title.

Let me share my networking strategy with which I have found enormous success over the years. It is simple and beneficial in making connections! When I attend an informal or formal networking event, I set out to meet at least 3-5 new people I did not know before walking into the room. I strategically ask questions and actively listen to get to know them personally and professionally. Some sample questions to get to know people personally include:

  • What is one of your favorite things to do in Des Moines?
  • Did you do anything fun this past weekend?
  • Have you been on any trips recently?

In addition, I will ask where they work and what do they do for their job. As we wrap-up our conversation, I ask if they are on LinkedIn, a professional social media platform. If their response is yes then, with their permission I will add them to LinkedIn on the spot. There is no platform quite like LinkedIn when it comes to building your network.

In closing, it is important to address the networking and professional development needs of both men and women by providing a supportive and empowering community. I encourage you to attend networking events, whether formal or informal with the purpose of having meaningful conversations and getting to know others outside of their job title and where they work. This is always a great start! Next, build your network, as it is important to your professional success and making meaningful conversations. As a professional speaker, I believe each connection leads to the next connection, ultimately helping everyone reach their goals.

Information about Intentional Connections:
With the support of Molly Lopez, co-collaborator of Intentional Connections, we started our first event in Des Moines, Iowa on January 23, 2023. The purpose of Intentional Connections is to create a safe space for women to make business and leadership connections where every attendee can feel seen, heard, and valued. Intentional Connections provides a platform for women to connect, collaborate, and support each other in their business and leadership endeavors.

At the first event, 45 women attended Intentional Connections at the Fire Creek restaurant located in West Des Moines. Since January 23, 2023, Intentional Connections has grown to approximately 400 attendees in the Des Moines area in 14 months! I am happy to announce Intentional Connections is expanding to other communities in Iowa and other states.

If you are interested in learning more about Intentional Connections, how you can get involved, or how you can start this in your own community, please reach out to Lisa Behrends, Founder of Intentional Connections, at Check out this video to learn more about Intentional Connections.

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