In a time wherein everyone seems to go crazy over digital, how can you ensure that the quality of connections (or more deeply, relationships) is not compromised? The answer is so simple: the non-digital channel. When we say non-digital channel, this is anything offline. If you have exhausted the digital channel, perhaps, now is the perfect time to go back to our core where in-person network is prioritized more than digital networking. Logically, your concern might be how can you build offline connections effectively. Below are the steps in building powerful and valuable connections and turning them into quality relationships.
1. Leverage your social media presence
Your LinkedIn connections and Twitter and Facebook followers, for instance, are real people that may be eager to meet you in person. Why don’t you direct message (DM) them to organize a small meet-up at a local café. This is how you can discover great collaboration opportunities perhaps, not today, but in the immediate future. Who knows, but the guy seating next to you at the meet-up will eventually provide long-term value to your organization?
2. Brand the ‘real person’ in you
Showcasing your personality – who you really are – can be your best asset. Let the people know of your passions and what you truly care about, and deliver these in person. For example, sponsor the community’s baseball team or housewives’ club. When you genuinely show compassion, other people will become interested and empathize with you. Connect with others and get personal whenever you have the chance to do so. Engage in meaningful discussions into whenever the opportunity arises about life, love or sports in general and not just about what you are and what you do in your spare time. Become an influencer in your community if possible. Prioritize creating equally passionate supporters, not necessarily digital followers.
3. Speak up and be understood
Don’t rely too much on your vanity metrics including how many followers you have on Twitter. It is not a bragging right. Instead, concentrate on how you can make a lasting impression on face-to-face meetings, for instance. Establish yourself as a thought leader. Look for speaking opportunities specifically on work-relevant events. Be a judge or volunteer or any key role in your industry. Build connections with those who you want yourself to be associated with. Mingle with people in the same circles. Consequently, attend non-work-relevant events. You will learn valuable insights from these people. You will standout yet you will have opportunities to blend in with these valuable people.
Building valuable connections offline is not without difficulties, but possible. Certainly, you can always start small then work your way up slowly. No matter what you do, the bottom line is powerful connections and thus, relationships are not always found online. Even experts agree that, in most instances, in-person networking is more powerful than digital networking. If you are caught in this digital dilemma, be reminded that sometimes, the best answer lies in putting aside your smartphone for a minute or two and engage in conversations with the people around you. That’s how you build connections powerfully!