With all the focus these days on social media, you have to remember which of those words is most important – social.
There is nothing more exciting and connecting than a good conversation. While tools and technology provide some good alternatives, there is no substitute to the great experience of time spent face-to-face and knee-to-knee.
We’re back from spending a few days in Chicago with our members at our BGNLive! conference, and were definitely reminded that the power of the personal connection cannot be replaced.
Levels of conversational intimacy
As you move from texts, to e-mails, to a formal letter, to a phone call, to Skype, to a face-to-face meeting, the level of conversational intimacy increases. While each has its place, the in-person conversations and the moments shared change the dynamic of the relationship. After spending time together, you now have shared experiences to remember and reference. It moves the relationship to a more intimate level.
When you’re together, you also get to experience the physical person by seeing their mannerisms, you get to make eye contact, and you can see their personal style. You find out quickly who’s a hugger, who’s a handshaker, who’s a two-cheek kisser. Again - it changes the dynamic.
Social tools strengthen relationships
In Chicago, we talked a lot about using social media as a communication and relationship management tool. It’s another way to develop and maintain relationships, and it allows you to carry that connection forward on a daily basis. With social tools, we don’t have to wait for the next in-person event to rekindle that connection. We can work on it every day.
We talked about the importance of our online presence, and what it says about us. How our presence, or absence, is the new first impression that people have of us. This online presence that we project gives us such an advantage in developing relationships and then allows us to use the power of the social tools to maintain the relationships moving forward.
For the folks we hadn’t yet met face-to-face, it was a thrill to see people around the hotel and instantly make the connection because we already “knew” one another. What a huge advantage to developing a relationship! Think about the advantage you can gain if your prospect already “knows” you from your online presence when you show up for that first meeting.
Personal connections strengthen business performance
Other items we spent time discussing were solutions, sharing ideas, and accountability. These are all great topics that can be easily reviewed in a broadcast way like a webinar. But when you add the in-person conversations – and maybe a glass of wine – it takes on a different level of enthusiasm and collaboration. It takes our potentially challenging situations and makes them feel completely achievable because we know we’ve got partners to help us along the way. We’ve got someone we can easily call for those new ideas or to help hold us accountable to the ones we’ve already committed to doing.
I was thinking about the power of the personal connection, and on my flight home I read through the Southwest Airlines magazine, Spirit, finding an entire (great) article on the importance of the face-to-face meeting. As diverse and spread out as our work world has become with more and more people working remotely from one another, travel is up significantly. “…the number of air passengers worldwide has nearly doubled during the Internet era—an additional one billion people take to the skies every year.” Even with the technology available, the human connection is still a significantly critical business tool. Perhaps social media, when used properly, doesn’t replace the traditional relationship; perhaps it just enhances it and speeds its development.
I hope that all of our discussions last week encourage our members to take a more active role in their online presence and make themselves more available and visible on a daily basis – to both us as an industry, as well as with clients. I have no doubt that if they/you do, by the time the next BGNLive! comes around, we’ll have even more to talk about and connect over and will immediately jump right into the good stuff!
Photo by Michael 1952.
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