How up close and personal are you?

At times, there’s no substitute for the ‘LIVE’ or personalised version of You

It’s easy to get lulled into this false sense of reality isn’t it? Instead of picking up the phone to speak to someone, you drop them an email or send them a message or a text. Instead of dropping someone a note, you can instant message, Skype message or send them an eCard. Instead of going to a networking event, social gathering, exhibition or event, you can show up online. All of these ways of being in touch, of showing up on the radar, are virtually instant and take very little effort. They work too, to an extent. There’s also a darker side too, a sense of disconnectedness.

What I also know to be true is this. There is nothing like being there in-person, in-the-room and pressing the flesh with other people. The energy, the sense of connectedness, the opportunity to take yourself out of your environment and put yourself in another, all adds to the mix and what comes out of that is so very different than being ‘virtual’.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m the first to enjoy, leverage and actively revel in all the gizmos and ways of working virtually. It’s something I’ve come to love about working in this ‘small world’ way. What’s often underestimated though is how disconnected we can feel and be perceived, when we take ourselves, our personalised selves, out of the mix – often without necessarily being conscious of it.

Let me ask you a few quick questions.

  • Have you ever emailed someone who’s in the same room/office as you because you can’t face or make time to go across and speak to them?
  • Have you ever emailed someone instead of calling them as an easy ‘get out’?
  • Have you ever texted someone a Thank You note instead of either calling or writing them a personal note?
  • Do you find yourself sending an ‘Apologies’ meeting alert rather than calling the person to say you can’t attend?
  • Have you ever wished you’d met up with someone in person sooner rather than wasting time going back/forth on email?

I know, like me, some – or all – of your answers will be a ‘Yes’. I ask myself, just before sending an email or text, is this the best way to be in touch today? Clients constantly tell me that they can’t “get people to do what they want them to” or they struggle to get people to respond to them. When pressed, it’s often because they lack connection with the other person/s. That’s where the secret of ‘pressing the flesh’ or personalising can change things in an instant.

You don’t have to spend your life bouncing around the world on planes or being so busy going to meetings or writing notes you never give yourself time to implement or think. No, of course not.

Here are 5 starters for you if you decide to show up ‘personally’ more than you are.

  1. When you go to email someone, pick up the phone and call instead. Even if you leave a voicemail and send an email afterwards, you connected, you made the effort. They hear your ‘real life’ voice. It means something, to them.
  2. Instead of sending an RSVP by email – call or drop a personal, hand-written note instead. Your voice, your writing all counts more as you being ‘in person’.
  3. When you look at an invitation and think “No, too busy” – just ask yourself “How can I make it work so I can go?” so you let people see you and be with you, as you with them.
  4. When you do decide to show up in person, instead of hanging with people you know, challenge yourself to meet and greet at least 5 people you’ve never met before. You only have to be open to asking them a few questions and, off you go!
  5. When you’re with other people, be more interested in them, rather than being interested in them being interested in you. That’s where the true magic is – they magically become more interested in you anyway – aha!

Daniel Goleman who wrote the transformational – and much quoted – book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ says “When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection – or compassionate action.” I believe he’s right.

A big piece of that is coming forward to make a personalised – not impersonalised – connection. Go on, I dare you.


One thought on “How up close and personal are you?

  1. What you say about communicating in person is so true, but I am told by my younger co-workers that it’s really ‘old school’. We work in quite a small open plan office where you can often hear a pin drop! My colleagues prefer to be Skype messaged even when we are sitting close by, as they don’t like being interrupted in what they are doing. What’s even more maddening for me is that conversations sometimes take place on several platforms. Ultimately what often happens with trickier conversations is that people become passive aggressive in writing and behave in a way they wouldn’t face to face. So a quick chat would have been more efficient and more pleasant…. Do you have any suggestions re: us oldies talking to younger colleagues?

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