Why Connections Do Happen in Real Life


When I spoke at the Mediabistro Circus conference held at the New York Times Center a few years back, I met a roster of really interesting people.

Among the speakers were Tim Ferriss, the event keynote who geeked us
up on search and evergreen content, and Anil Dash, who was on a panel
later in the day. To this day, I wish I had figured out how to spend more time meeting Dash properly. He's been one of the bright "thinking" stars in my firmament, even as we may not agree on everything.

The event was large enough and yet intimate enough for us to connect with several people between sessions.

Kudos to Mediabistro Circus organizers for utilizing the venue and designing the program well.

There is no hiding in real life

I love meeting people in person, and do take the extra steps to stay
in touch over time. When I met Soraya Darabi last fall, I knew we would find many reasons to stay in touch over the long haul. To me, over time is one of the best ways to honor real time.

You may be able to hide behind something you
leverage online.

There's no hiding in real life.

You and what you are must be
real to withstand the test of meeting in person. Just like in business, so is in this social networks-filled life of hours — eventually you will be found. It gives "don't you know who I am?" a whole new dimension, doesn't it?

The good news
is that once you make a connection real, you have the chance to cultivate it for a long time.

Fair weather friends are playing a game of chance, and with the unpredictability of where someone will turn up these days, an even passable strategist will know finite games do have an expiration date. You behave like a jerk, you get those returns.

The gold in relationships is still coming through when it matters most — in person. Which is why it is so important to learn to transform your presentations and interviews into conversations. So you can open that door, regardless of whether your resume or blog reads like buzzword bingo.

Ripples and connections

What works on LinkedIn, as in real life, are personal introductions.
The act of shaking someone's hand, looking them in the eye, being helpful as appropriate wherever you are bind you in ways a social graph can only demonstrate *after*
that connection is established.

When David Armano published the influence ripples graphic, we
discussed how online was only a fraction of the connections many people
have in real life.

Although I have been using Twitter steadily since Oct 2007, projects, recommendations, and opportunities are still flowing through a
network you cannot even see — my address book.

Emails, phone calls, or in person meetings are the best conversion tools for individual connections. In a post that has helped me research the question of influence more thoughtfully over the years, Stephen Downes said that rather than being a question of linkage, influence originates from:

1. Diversity — a person
who communicates with a diverse audience will be more influential than a
person who communicates with a uniform audience

2. Autonomy
a person who is free to speak his or her own mind, and is not merely
parroting some 'official view', will have more influence

3. Openness
– – a person who writes in multiple languages, or who can be read on
multiple platforms, or who is not limited to a single communications
channel, will have more influence

4. Connectivity
— a person you can communicate with, and who will listen to your point
of view, will have more influence than a person who does not

Do you have enough diversity and autonomy in your life? How well do you listen to others? Are you open to multiple cultures outside your own?

All good reasons to stop
seeking (fake) links, and start making connections.

"Someday, somewhere — anywhere, unfailingly, you'll find yourself, and
that, and only that, can be the happiest or bitterest hour of your life."
[Pablo Neruda]


[image by David Armano]

[edited from archives]


Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a
speaking engagement click here.

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