Young professionals weigh in: In-person contact is still valuable
Social media and other types of online networking have revolutionized the business world. New communication methods such as texting, email and video conferencing are rapidly replacing face-to-face business communication. It has become the norm to connect with clients, prospects or partners across the country or across the world. Professionals everywhere are utilizing these new strategies, but what has happened to the old fashioned face-to-face meetings? What has happened to looking someone in the eye and making a deal on a handshake?
As a financial professional with an established practice in Tahoe, I find it more difficult to connect with clients due to the demand in social media. By connecting online, you never get to experience what someone is truly like. You miss out on personal characteristics and behavior. How can you tell if someone is sharp or enthusiastic through an email? Meeting in person gives you a broader perspective. For example, a face-to-face conversation might move more quickly or help you and a person you are networking with find common ground as opposed to, say, liking their Facebook page.
Face-to-face meeting requires our full attention. In the age of multitasking, social communication and even important business email is likely to be happening at the same time we’re proofreading the latest blog post, listening to a podcast, watching part of a video, etc. Multitasking makes it unlikely we will have long-term memory of the things we see and hear. Face-to-face events on the other hand stimulate our cognitive functions resulting in greater open mindedness and creativity.
Last but not least, face-to-face contact creates trust. You can share information virtually, but building relationships require closer interaction. In business, politics, marriage, indeed in any significant relationship, trust is the essential precondition upon which all real success depends.
This is not to say that social media has tarnished the business world but it needs to be utilized in the right way. Tahoe Regional Young Professionals is the perfect example of using social media to bring people together. For example, I found out about TRYP through Facebook and now serve as the finance director. TRYP has successfully grown its presence in Tahoe through social media and has brought young professionals together whether it’s to socialize, prospect new business or just to have a good time. TRYP’s goal of empowering Tahoe would not have been possible by using just a website or just a Facebook page but instead utilized these tools and as a result has been able to donate thousands of dollars to local charities.
So instead of emailing the next document to your client, pick up the phone and schedule a lunch or a morning coffee and take the relationship to the next level.
— Brad Bryns is a financial advisor for New York Life.