Building Better Relationships – in Person!
“In a digital world, there is still so much value in building relationships the old-fashioned way.”
As a Virtual Assistant, I am at my computer for a large chunk of my week. I also work from home, so I have little interaction with people, unless I am on the phone/Skype with a client. However, this works well for me because I am able to focus on my projects at hand and when I do go out for lunch meetings, to run errands or attend networking events, I bring my A-game! This doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, my best friend has mentioned to me on a couple of occasions that she doesn’t know how I do it – especially since I am a very social, outgoing person. It definitely isn’t for everyone and many of us have become accustomed to our water cooler chats in the office and boardroom convos before and after meetings. So, why does this stop when we leave the office?
The other night I was having dinner with my mom and we started chatting with the senior couple next to us. By the way, if you are ever in Bayers Lake, Fredie’s Fantastic Fish House is amazing! The couple was probably in their mid-80’s and very friendly! During our chat, I learned that the man was the former President of a nearby engineering firm and we ended up having a conversation about building relationships. He mentioned how involved he and his wife were in the business community during his working career and how often they attended social events and member outings. To this day, they involve themselves in many activities to stay active. We spoke about how times have changed – how many businesses don’t become members of organizations anymore and don’t see the value in it. “But that’s how we acquired new business” the man said and he is so right. Some of the best connections I have made over the years were waiting at a crosswalk, at a wine-tasting event, business luncheon, etc. Meeting people organically is still super important and that face-to-face interaction is valuable. One of my favorite events to attend is the Leading Ladies Networking events put on by the talented Menna Riley.
I do a lot of social media work and also see the value is building connections online whether it’s through LinkedIn, Twitter or other sites. It’s what I do for a living! I also know there are many online communities to become involved with and without the internet, I wouldn’t even know about some of the cool events happening in my city. But, with that being said, there is so much to be said about word-of-mouth marketing success and I truly believe that to be the same with relationship building. Many of us are glued to our cellphones and become comfortable with our day-to-day routine that we lack engaging in organic conversation with people – even at our local coffee shop. I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone (even if you are introverted), suggest your company partake in a social or charity event – you may learn a thing or too – or even acquire a new client!