Today’s guest post comes from my friend Jeff Waldman. You’re gonna love it, trust me!
For those that know me I feel confident that you would all say that I portray a consistent personality of “Jeff” online as I do offline. I believe it’s critically important to portray a consistent and true YOU all the time regardless of communications channel you are using.
A Little Story…
I am writing this blog post on a Porter Airlines flight to Boston for the final SocialHRCamp of the inaugural year, 2012. I see in the seat next to me a woman reading a print copy of a Harvard Business Review article about the “War for Talent”. I peek over every few minutes to the point where I saw a sub-title that read, “Another Way of Looking at Employee Turnover, Socially”. Okay, I need to speak with this person. I tapped on her shoulder and struck a conversation. It turns out that she’s a Harvard Professor and is researching talent management, and has no background in HR, nor has any idea of what talent management is. Great, I see this as an opportunity to have an interesting conversation. At the end of our 10+ minute conversation we exchange business cards and she invites me to connect with her to continue our conversation.
There are 2 points to this story. First, it doesn’t matter how you meet new people, whether it be online via social media or in-person on an airplane, it’s critical to start a conversation with something that could be deemed of mutual interest. In the case of my story it was the article about talent management. I asked a question to start the conversation, and the rest was history.
The second point is the power of face-to-face contact really helped me in this situation to propel the conversation. What I mean by this is I strongly believe that face-to-face contact truly expedites a connection or conversation. Let’s change the scenario a little bit. What if I saw a tweet on Twitter from the same person I spoke with on the plane about her reading an HBR article about talent management, and I responded? Say I respond with something like, “love this article, am interested to learn more… thanks for sharing”. The person could have responded or perhaps not at all.
A conversation like I had on the airplane potentially could never have happened. Or, the individual could have responded and it could have been weeks, months or years before a conversation in real-time could have taken place. I am not saying I could have lost out on an opportunity in the absence of this connection being started on social media first. What I am saying is that yes, there are many ways to start a connection; offline and online, but the overall quality of conversation increases exponentially because of the power of face-to-face contact.
Rule of Thumb…
My simple rule of thumb when using social media is to take connections that are deemed to be potentially beneficial for both people offline as quickly as possible. If you meet someone first in-person then of course the social networking channel is irrelevant. I take things offline quickly because I know that the power of face-to-face connection is second-to-none. A potentially beneficial business relationship will ALWAYS develop much quicker in-person than just online.
Moral of the Story…
With the explosion of social media there are now a plethora of channels to meet new people and start highly reciprocal relationships. What will never change is the fact that face-to-face contact will ALWAYS support and enable higher quality and stronger relationships to be developed. It’s important to understand this when you use offline means to connect with people. Get them offline as quickly as you deem them to be potentially beneficial for both you and the other person.
Photo Credit: Face-to-Face
About the Author:
Social media enthusiast, entrepreneur, social HR strategist and educator, Jeff is the Founder of Stratify, a social HR start-up and SocialHRCamp
, the first-ever global HR unconference. With a background in business, HR and marketing, and a diverse career spanning all facets of HR Jeff has been carving out and leading the way in a growing niche that brings together HR, social media and business.
Jeff is an avid speaker, blogger and volunteer, with organizations such as the Sauder Business Club of Toronto, PACE Independent Living, Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, Podcamp Toronto, Freelancecamp Toronto, University of British Columbia Alumni Association, Society for HR Management—National (SHRM), Illinois State Council—Society for HR Management (ILSHRM), Humber College, Seneca College and Ted Rogers School of Management (Ryerson University).
When not working on a new idea, running an event, networking, speaking with business students or playing sports he can be found with his wife and three young boys in North Toronto.
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