The world has never felt more disconnected. The Covid-19 pandemic is crippling all corners of the globe and forcing many people to stay at home and work remotely. It is an unprecedented situation, and one that reminds us all of the importance of human connection.
That is where Simone Heng comes in. She has dedicated her life to teaching people how to make authentic connections that enrich their lives and their businesses. She believes that we are on the planet to connect, and that it is our relationships with other people which make us happy and healthy.
In a recent keynote speech entitled “The Future of Human Connection” that has gone viral on Instagram, Heng talks about a BBC simulation which painted a picture of a future where workplaces are set up for us to avoid contact with other people and the possible transmission of illnesses like Covid-19. She explains that this vision of what might be terrified her because of the way our brains are wired to need connection.
“When I began this journey, I was working in an organisation that was quite toxic. I saw how a lack of human connection was affecting employees,” Heng said in an interview with Nana Asia. “When creative people are disconnected, they cannot create content that connects. And content that connects is the only content people want to consume. I realised if my organisation was steeped in this, then many other places must be feeling it too.”
At the time when Heng realised this, her mother’s dementia was becoming more severe and she was struggling to connect with people. “This meant that less people visited, which would then make her depressed and the cycle would continue. I was seeing in every corner of my life that a lack of authentic connection posed a huge problem to our mental and physical health.”
Moved by her mother’s troubles and motivated by a desire to help others forge stronger bonds, Heng started giving speeches to organisations around the world about the connection techniques that authentically bring us together. Her keynotes are akin to spoken movies and leave audiences feeling deeply connected. Her long list of clients includes Salesforce, UBS, DBS, Google, Ted X, Great Eastern, AIA, Manulife, VLMY&R, The United Nations and Braze.
Heng does not just help businesses. She is concerned about everyone’s mental health, and shared some advice for us all in a recent Instagram post:
“Since Covid-19, the way we connect and the frequency with which we connect has changed. What we can control, however, is the depth at which we connect when the opportunity arises. Try these simple tips that seem logical but are often forgotten:
When you are together virtually or in person when asked how you are, be honest instead of creating a veneer of perfection.
When you disclose information it is an act of vulnerability and gives others meat to start more interesting conversations with you. Be brave and disclose first.
Instead of letting conversation revolve around material things like holidays, possessions and work, ask people about their childhood, their dreams and goals.
We all need to make more of an effort to connect until life goes back to normal. In reaching out, you could be saving a life.”