What Martin Luther King Jr Taught About Being a Great People Connector

Dr. King knew the power of connection long before the rest of us imagined it. For me connection is so important that I wanted to share some of the ways he was a connector and how we could apply those principles to our own connections and networks.

Every year in the U.S. we officially honor the great leader Dr. Martin Luther King. I had read that Dr. King was known as a great connector of people.

Dr. King knew the power of connection long before the rest of us imagined it. For me, connection is so important that I wanted to share some of the ways he was a connector and how we could apply those principles to our own connections and networks.

  • Dr. King understood the best way to connect with others was through big ideas shared in a big way.
  • Dr. King connected in the small details. When he was with people outside his inner circle, it’s clear they felt a connection to Dr. King in a more personal way. How did he do this? He remembered the little things about the people he was talking with. His ability to recall facts and small details about their families and congregations made others feel not only honored but heard.  
  • Dr. King connected through networks. Think about this…Before social media and technology, Dr. King invested significant time in developing his networks. It’s been reported that he had calls and conversations that show how effective he was at building an extended community for his cause. He knew how to leverage other peoples’ gifts and capabilities. He started by building trusting relationships with them.
  • Dr. King connected through action. Dr. King understood if change were to take place, people would have to take action. He understood there were many people who had tried to achieve his dream but had failed due to a lack of action and consistent follow-up.

So, what can we take away from Dr. King and apply it to how we connect with people in our professional life?

  1. To connect like Dr. King, we must listen
  2. Remembering that details about people matter
  3. Investing significant time in developing a network of trusted relationships is a worthy effort
  4. Success comes from taking action and following-up


Listening is not a social media meme. Listening means we might want to actually have a conversation where we can deeply listen to what the other person is saying. In business, listening to the true needs of our prospects reveals volumes.

Details Matter

When you remember details about someone, it means you listened and more importantly that you cared enough to listen.  As humans, we all have a basic need to be heard.

Investing Time in Relationships

The fact is most people who want to grow a business don’t invest time in the people that could help them get results faster.  David Nour, author of Relationships Economics says, “Though most people agree that relationships are important, few actually bother to measure, quantify, or leverage them to their fullest potential.” 

Building a network of key relationships are those people that are your biggest advocates – they are happy to refer you and keep you in mind when opportunities arise and they are the people you want to be spending the most time with. What does your network look like?

Following Up

Consider this, how many people in your LinkedIn network have followed back up with you since they invited you to connect?  I’m just asking about those people that invited YOU. Now, think about this question in reverse, how many people have you followed up with since YOU invited them to connect?

The same holds true on other social networks.  Regardless of how many followers or likes you have; do you know how many are meaningful?  

In today’s business world, we so often engage people online before we meet offline. But we can learn a lot about people by searching further into their social media sites and website. Most people have a personal and professional social presence, but it does take effort to research and engage in a meaningful way online.

Connecting people with content on LinkedIn

Online numbers do play a role in getting our content seen – there is no doubt. But at the same time, think about how you are nurturing the deeper connections, your biggest fans or advocates.

As LinkedIn’s network continues to grow worldwide, there is a captive audience of professionals that many businesses and professionals want to get in front of. Posting content is the fastest way to demonstrate your thought leadership, credibility and to build trust.

Here are some tips on how do you get your network to engage with your posts.

About 95% of B2B buyers research companies online before making purchases, according to the Accenture State of B2B Procurement study

71% of B2B buyers prefer to research and purchase online with the availability of a salesperson to answer questions via phone or live chat on demand, the Accenture study found.


Need help learning what to say to open a conversation and build a network? Schedule an individual coaching session where I can help you grow your network with the right people to build long-term relationships. Click here to schedule a 90-minute coaching call.

JoAnne Funch

JoAnne Funch

Helping business owners and corporate leaders use LinkedIn and relationship building strategies to gain more exposure for their brand so they have more impact, credibility & income.

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