I’m a big fan of LinkedIn and I promote it to my executive job-seeking clients for networking and spreading their personal brand. And I’m guilty of communicating with my own professional network mostly online and electronically.
Just like so many of us these days, glued to our computers, I sometimes forget how important it is to make real-life contact with my business connections.
How many times do you let months pass before picking up the phone and calling a professional buddy, instead of dropping them a quick email?
Dan Schawbel made the compelling point in a recent blog post, Would Your Personal Brand Exist if the Internet Went Down?
If your networking and personal brand-building efforts are entirely Internet-dependent, consider his cautions:
“I’ve put a lot of thought into online versus offline personal branding. We all need to focus on building powerful offline brands because who knows what will happen to the internet tomorrow. What if the world loses power or the internet cord is unplugged? What if web 3.0 is the end of blogs, online video, Twitter, and social networks?
Anything can happen, which is why you need to start meeting people in real life and taking what you’ve built online, offline. How you write, behave, interact and your expertise should be translated to how you present yourself day-to-day. Always be consistent and don’t let technology rule your life.”
Of course, he’s right. It’s so easy to let the Internet rule our lives. But if we only spread our personal brands and connect online, we’re missing out on some golden opportunities.
Balancing online efforts with meeting with people in person and making new live connections is critical to cultivating a vibrant network and to our well-being.
I’ve made some very good connections and do business with many people I’ve never met in person, and probably never will. But I know what it does to me when I let myself get chained to the computer, and neglect those rejuvenating networking lunches with my pals or strategizing phone calls.
I know how good it feels to connect by phone instead of email. We can all find time to do this once in a while.
Face-time, especially at the beginning of building a new professional relationship, can be the deciding factor for whether both of you find value in the relationship and want to develop it. Don’t you find that these are generally deeper and more rewarding connections than those with no personal interaction?
In a similar vein: