Networking: Pick up the Phone

Just the other day I read that in order to truly connect and form an authentic relationship with someone you need to reach out to people in at least three different methods, typically via email, the phone and a face-to-face meeting. [For the life of me I cannot recall where I read this, Keith’s Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone perhaps, so if it looks familiar point me in the right direction please.]

Anyway, I think there’s a lot of truth to this assumption. Once upon a time I was very hesitant to reach out to people online, aside from email and social networks. Now that I have completely immersed myself in the power of social media and what it is capable of in terms of collaboration and the exchange of ideas (what valuable currency), my philosophy has shifted.

A few months ago I wrote about the value of making connections, but I neglected to mention picking up the phone and calling someone. Certainly, you’re becoming more intelligent. You’re realizing that you have to build your network long before you ever need it. Or maybe you’re just like me and you want to be challenged and inspired by a rockstar.

Tonight I had the fortunate pleasure of connecting with Ryan Coleman. [I was introduced to Ryan after another great conversation I had previously with Jeff Widman.] Ryan and I talked about creativity, social media, collaboration, networking, and a number of other topics that really got my wheels spinning. In fact, I had outlined an article I was going to write about Apple’s need for a community evangelist (or at least a balance between complete secrecy and having a corporate liaison between HQ and consumers).

It’s possible you’ll see that article in the next day or so, but it is also very probable that you will not. I keep a journal with various ideas I have for blog posts, and after talking with Ryan for just shy of 45 minutes that list had almost doubled. Isn’t that what connecting with other passionate people is about? This is why people pay out the ass to go to seminars. It’s why some of the most influential people in the world go to TED conferences, and it is why I have started picking up the phone.

Think about how much information you can discuss and digest in a 45-minute phone conversation. How many days worth of emails would that take? How long would it take to read enough blogs in your google reader to garner that amount of information? Aside from that, you get to hear inflection, excitement, passion, hesitancy, confusion, and countless others. If you’re a skilled writer, chances are you can convey all these things in an email, but you can’t fake it on the phone.

Perhaps you’re intimidated, shy, nervous, or just think it will be awkward so you stick to email. I got news for you sometimes it is all of those things, but at least it is authentic. In my experience, I have been fortunate to have some really great chats and really connect with like-minded and passionate people. To me, that’s worth the risk of all the other… …every time.

Please help me continue the conversation. Do you reach out to other online marketers, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, businesswoman, et al ? Do you like connecting via the phone? What are some advantages and disadvantages? Share an experience. Tell me your stories. I’m listening. I promise!

  • I reach out to people all the time. Interesting thought on 3 ways… I just work really, really hard to meet people face-to-face or phone chat. Builds relationships. E-mail is more of a transaction medium. All about expectations surrounding the channel.


    admin Reply:

    @ Jeff Widman – Not only are you great at reaching out, but you do an exceptional job of connecting your contacts with one another so that other people get more mileage out of your own valuable network.

    It’s hard for me to meet a bunch of other bloggers for the sheer fact that Texas is a monstrous state and gas prices are ridiculous though there are some very well-connected and talented tech savvy people and bloggers in Austin (and other places) I’d love to meet.

    Sometimes email’s more convenient because I can answer whenever I want, and it helps the initial connecting process, but certainly, I do enjoy taking the time (provided I have it) to connect on the phone.

    Thanks for your insight Jeff. You’re welcome to do a guest post on the art of networking whenever you want!