In today’s digital world, social media and email has seemingly replaced traditional communication practices. As an advertising agency in Colorado, we’ll happily concede that technology plays a critical role in business, but we also maintain that it’s vital to sometimes go around technology to make personal, one-on-one connections.
What’s the big deal? Why is this important?
Anyone who’s worked 10 minutes in the business world has heard the expression, “It’s not about what you do, it’s about who you know.” You know why? Because it’s 100% true. If you’re trying to build your career, the best thing you can do is cultivate relationships both in and out of your industry. Relationships go a long way!
When people or companies connect on a personal level with clients or future employers, it makes you as a person, or as a company, more appealing to work with or for. We all want to work with other humans we like, after all!
Here are a few tips on building relationship in today’s digital world:
If you’re not currently active on LinkedIn, you should get on it because it’s a great way to start connecting with people. And don’t think they have to be people you already know! It’s just as important to connect with those you want to know better. In the business world, LinkedIn is a great starting point when making a first connection. To get the ball rolling, send a potential connection a personalized message explaining why you’re interested in connecting.
E-mail is a great and efficient way to communicate, especially for a quick question or sending important information. Unfortunately, the ease of email keeps many of us from *gulps* making a phone call or walking down the hall. A little face time never hurt anyone’s career! Sure, it can be a hard to break out of the email habit but starting simple will make it easier. Try replacing 5 emails a day with a phone call or in-person chat – it works!
And if you’re trying to reach out to someone you don’t know, finding a correct email can be tricky. We recommend sending a personal, handwritten note instead. They stick out much more than being one of the literal hundreds of emails your recipient gets each day. Talk about a good first impression!
Pick up the phone
Phone conversations are also a great way to build relationships in a more personal way. Understanding the tone in their voice can give you a good impression of their personality as well as likes and dislikes. So, if you have an important topic to discuss, just pick up the phone. You’ll likely avoid any misunderstandings that are common with written communication.
Face time (not the app)
If it’s at all possible, set up an in-person meeting. We suggest coffee meetings and happy hours for first meetings. Who doesn’t love coffee or drinks, right? If you want to create personal relationships, it’s so much better to do it in person.
Pro Tip: When you’re making new connections, meet up with them at least three times before bringing up what you want. Building a personal relationship should come before a one-time need. Always consider how you can help them – eventually, they’ll do the same.
Use technology to your advantage! While an in-person meeting may be impossible for a variety of reasons, almost everyone can hop on video chat. Much like with in-person meetings, video conferencing allows you to gauge what the person on the other end is thinking.
Networking, while not rocket science, can be intimidating. By making a real effort to avoid a reliance on technology, building meaningful relationships often becomes much more doable. If you let people know the face and voice behind an email, it will often go much further in business than anything else. And don’t forget: if a new connection does something for you, make sure to help them in return! According to this advertising agency in Colorado, it’s the Golden Rule of business.
David is the Creative Director and Founder of Decibel Blue. When he isn’t riding his recumbent trike (it’s a long story), taking pictures, chasing Buffalos, staring down black bears or rolling around with Tiger cubs – David and his wife like to travel and play with their two circus dogs. Yes, they really are like the ones you saw spinning and hopping in Ringling Bros.