I spoke to my friend and colleague Pete Kistler, CEO of Brand-yourself.com, for the first time last week, although I had been a guest blogger at the Brand-yourself blog for about a year, and then a weekly blog columnist since last December.
Neither of us had ever picked up the phone to connect. Meeting in person would have been great, but not geographically feasible. Like many people these days, with networks spanning the country and even the world, we communicated solely through email and other social media.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the convenience and immediacy of email and Twitter, but I need more than virutal conversation. I know I’m not alone in this feeling. People communicate best through face-to-face encounter, second best through verbal exchange. Social media talk ranks last, in my opinion.
I need the shot of adrenaline I get from a spontaneous shared laugh that is lacking in an emailed or tweeted “LOL”.
I need the nuance of verbally sharing in an associate’s excitement at reaching a milestone or celebrating a major accomplishment.
I need to fully examining a topic by verbally batting ideas and solutions back and forth in conversation.
Without that phone call with Pete, I wouldn’t have grasped as easily what he and his accomplished team are offering with the launch of their new online reputation management platform, and how it can help me.
I believe that, without hashing out details in conversation, Pete wouldn’t have benefitted as much from my expertise and how my experience helping executives with their online identity can help him.
We both came to understand how we can bring value to each other, in a variety of ways. I doubt we would have gotten there through emails alone.
Note to self: Improve my ever-expanding personal brand communications plan by better balancing virtual with real-life networking.
I WILL regularly checking in with my network by phone.
Social networks are great, but they don’t reinforce personal brands or build trust like reaching out and calling someone.