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The downsides of technology in a hyper-connected world

Cheryl Cook, vice president of global channels and alliances at DellCheryl Cook, vice president of global channels and alliances at Dell
Cheryl Cook, vice president of global channels and alliances at DellCourtesy of Dell

MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: What is one piece of advice all millennials should take before entering the workforce? is written by Cheryl Cook, vice president of global channels and alliances at Dell.

Whether you prefer to call them “millennials” or “Generation Y” it’s no secret that the world is still adapting to how this cohort behaves. And the business world is no exception; however, the business world is also very different now than it was when Generation X entered the job market.

Today, more than ever, companies span all corners of the globe, which requires many of us to communicate with colleagues via email or phone — meaning you can easily go years before meeting someone face-to-face. Despite how useful technology can be, it is slowly eroding one of the most important things needed to succeed: the ability to create and cultivate meaningful relationships. So, how can we still build meaningful connections in today’s hyperconnected world? Here are a few suggestions:

Network with everyone
Get better acquainted with leaders outside of your department, but still within your company. You never know what you may learn from your peers in other areas of business, and equally important, what they may learn from you. Of course, don’t forget networking with those in your division and nurture those relationships as well. And never burn bridges; you never know when you may have to work with that person in the future.

Find a mentor
Join, organize, or find a mentorship program. Whether the relationship is formal or informal, both parties can grow from the experience. And it doesn’t only have to be at the professional level; try finding a local outreach program such as Big Brothers Big Sisters to mentor local youth. You may have an opportunity to share with them how you came to reach the current level in your career, whether it’s the right decisions you have made or how you grew from your failures. These interactions are beneficial experiences, regardless if you’re mentoring a young student or if you’re the one being mentored.

Use your social skills
There has been a surge recently in women resource groups within large organizations. These events provide opportunities for networking with similar career-minded women, and plays up another great quality of millennials: their eagerness to stay connected. In fact, women of all ages can benefit from the opportunity to listen to others for professional and personal advice.

Read all answers to the MPW Insider question: What is one piece of advice all millennials should take before entering the workforce?

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