Meeting people face to face is one of the most dynamic ways to make connections and build relationships. If it wasn't, the meetings and events industry would have fallen a few years after the birth of the internet.
What has actually happened is this:
1. Technology increased - The Internet of Things (IOT) has everyone connected via our likes and dislikes on social media. Our habits are tracked and algorithms place content in front of us we are subject to like. With an increase in data at our fingertips, it is also easier to stay connected.
2. Social skills decreased - Basic social/emotional skills have decreased in youth due to extreme use of technology for communication. Though one can connect with anyone via the Internet and Social Media, the vast majority of people feel more lonely and depressed than ever before.
3. Experiences are needed - Increased Technology and decreased senses of belonging make face-to-face meetings more relevant than ever. Networking and building relationships is key to success, personally and professionally. People crave real, authentic relationships with others.
But what do you do after you have met? How do you keep the memory fires burning and continue to maintain the bridge you have built with another?
1. Make time - Schedule time to email friends new and old. Allow technology to help you when connecting with those who are not located near you. Send handwritten notes for an added touch, personalization makes everyone feel special. Call, FaceTime, Skype, or make a lunch date. Making time is what matters most.
2. Use the algorithm - When you read an article which you feel is interesting and worthwhile, share it with your connections via social media, LinkedIn, or a direct email. Start a discussion on the topic at hand and learn from each other's points of view.
3. Sync calendars - Make a strategic plan for reaching out, whether quarterly or more frequent. Make sure to reconnect prior to next year's event and plan a time to meet up again. For many, yearly conferences are the one face to face moment people have, so make the most of it. Set aside time to catch up and explore new topics.
Continue to build your relationships and your bridges will stretch far and wide!
Charmaine N. Houck
Advocate of Adventure