You have to disconnect to remember how to connect. This advice is from Jennifer Connelly, and comes at the end of a blog post that—up to that point—is all about social media. Connelly, the CEO of Jennifer Connelly Public Relations, goes on to say that jumping into social media just can’t substitute for good old-fashioned in-person networking.
I love this, because it reinforces the concept of being there. So simple, but so powerful. So much of networking and getting connected simply boils down to being present (physically and mentally), and being “in the room”.
So I’m taking some of my own advice (and Connelly’s). I’m doing a little more “in person” networking to complement—not replace—my social networking. I’m having more lunches, attending more events, and—here’s the interesting thing—striking up random conversations with people. It could be in line at Starbucks, or waiting for soccer practice to end. It doesn’t matter where or when, it just matters that I engage with people that I don’t normally talk to. Jonah Lehrer discusses the value of “errant conversations” in his book Imagine: How Creativity Works. He’s a fan of the “weak ties” that come with an expanded social circle. It turns out that rubbing elbows with other people–getting in the mix–is an essential part of creativity. And creativity is essential for the success of your small business or nonprofit organization.
If you’re uncomfortable with social media, you may already spend most of your time dealing with your donors and clients in person. On the other hand, if you’re a social media whiz, it can become easier to peer into a screen than to go out and meet and greet. But as Jennifer Connelly points out so well in her blog—it takes both to be successful.