Texting, social media and email are not enough to build real working relationships.
Last week, I participated in the Insights Association’s CEO Summit in Miami… a sold-out industry event attended by nearly 100 C-level executives from throughout our industry. And during the three days, one over-arching theme became crystal clear… while we all work in a B2B environment, we all still live in a Human-to-Human (H2H) world. That’s not just me saying that… everyone I talked with about that idea at the Summit whole-heartedly agreed.
It was a very energizing event… with good speakers, interesting panelists and some compelling round-table discussions. But what made it truly special was the ever-present opportunity to genuinely connect with one another at a very human level. These H2H conversations weren’t just about work… as importantly, they were also about family, vacations, hobbies, favorite sports teams and so on.
And, maybe most interestingly, it really didn’t matter who we connected with – current and prospective clients, potential partners, speakers, vendors and even competitors – the conversations were real and human. What happened over the three days there is we realized that we are all “in the same boat” when it comes to running our businesses (which gave us all some commonality), so we let down our guard and then… wait for it… we just talked with each other. What a concept, huh?
Over morning coffee, at lunch, between sessions and over dinner & drinks… it didn’t matter. We were all just people – dealing with similar issues – and that somehow connected us. We all walked away from the conference better for the experience and more connected than ever to people we can help and who can help us.
So, right now, take a few minutes to browse through your calendar and start thinking about your opportunities for developing H2H connections this year. It could be at conferences or trade shows, networking events, association meetings or blitzing a city for 2-3 days (and scheduling as many in-person meetings as you can).
Hot tip: Don’t forget about scheduling nearby in-person meetings. I am amazed how many ‘smart’ professionals – who live in fairly large metropolitan areas – simply ignore the opportunities right in their own backyard. One of the suggestions I make fairly often to my clients (in those big city environments) is to schedule a couple in-person coffee meetings every month. Coffee in the morning is an easy, low-cost, non-threatening way to establish (or enhance) a real H2H relationship.
So, as you move into 2019 and are looking for ‘new’ ways to grow your business… maybe it’s time to think ‘old’ and go back to not just communicating with people, but genuinely connecting with them on an H2H level.
YBGYD (You’ll be glad you did!).