You can meet people you didn’t know before very easily on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. You can read their profiles and quickly figure out where they’ve been and what they’ve done. Networking follow-up is now easier, faster and virtually free using email and social media.
Why would you ever need to write and mail a business letter again?
Who needs to meet for coffee or bother with face to face interaction, when you can do it all on-line?
Keeping the human element in all your interactions
The answer is pretty obvious. Digital communication often lacks the human touch. In order to develop strong, meaningful relationships (in your professional or personal world), you have to spend quality time with people. They have to know you care about them as an individual. You have to demonstrate your ability and willingness to listen deeply to their needs,wants, hopes, fears, dreams and troubles.
WAIT….before you walk into that trap
Before you default to the automatic “Send” button on your email keyboard or the “Post” button on Facebook, think about how else you could communicate that might make a richer connection. Could you pick up the phone and add richness of your voice to the communication?
Could you write them a letter or greeting card and actually sign it with your own pen? Could you drop by and say hello, perhaps shaking hands or if appropriate, give them a hug?
I call these 3D interactions – you are bringing your whole self to the relationship and the interaction. Each time you do this, your connection gets stronger.
Guidelines for Effective Communication Methods
I recently wrote a blog article for the Southworth Company – the company that makes that awesome resume paper and business paper that you makes you look ever so professional and valuable to hiring managers and prospective clients. I have used their products for many years and love the range of professional options they have that allow me to express my personal brand and stand out in the eyes of my clients when they receive my proposals and letters.
The article I wrote for them is entitled: How to Avoid the Email Black Hole: Formal versus Informal Correspondence and includes a painful business lesson I learned as to why you don’t want to email important business proposals to prospective clients. In the article, I also outlined my guidelines as to what communication methods work best in different personal and professional situations.
Review this list and ask yourself HOW would you send these different communications? Email? Texting? Social Media? Face-to-face? Telephone? Written/mailed correspondence? Then click here to see your answers match my answers.
- business proposals
- networking introductions
- networking follow-up
- meeting announcements
- meeting follow-up
- wedding invitations
- social invitations
- resume presentation
- job interview
- interview follow-up
- simple Q&A
- complex Q&A
Your Networking Goal for this Week
For the next seven days, go on an Email diet, that is, reduce your usage of the email medium. Instead try picking up the telephone more often. Make a point to hand deliver important business proposals to your clients. Have a few face-to-face meetings with key people in your business network this week. Press the flesh and be with people. Try to create a positive, memorable experience with every interaction you make.
This week, I also want you to write at least 2 business letters to important people in your network – be they clients, prospects, Top 50 contacts or professional colleagues. This involves typing or handwriting your thoughts on paper, printing them on fine business stationery, hand addressing the envelope and placing a very cool stamp on it. And yes, walking it out to the mail box, knowing that you have just demonstrated how much you care about this networking connection. You took more time in your communication because they matter to you. Good for you!