In my debut post earlier this month on Small Business Trends, “Why Networking in Person Still Matters,” so many people commented their agreement and successes about networking in person, face to face. As a followup to this, I wanted to talk about relationships from the virtual entry point, and how powerful this has been for me, too.
Recently I read a networking article in a business publication that posed the question:
“Are virtual relationships real relationships?”
I can tell you that there are several opinions about this depending on who you ask. Those who do not spend much time engaged online and on the Web think that comparing the two types of relationships is ridiculous.
Those who are engaged and invested online as an integral part of their daily business will tell you that those “virtual relationships” are the very ones that have led to some of the most valued relationships they have made in life and business.
I can only share with you how my social platforms and many of the virtual connections that I have made on them have turned into what I call “actionable relationships.” What I mean by this is authentic, real relationships we start on the Web that we turn into mutually beneficial ones through action. If I let connections just stream by without sending a message, commenting or picking up a phone, then what’s the point? Community and tribes are built on commonality.
This past year through my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Blogtalk Radio platforms, I have met and developed amazing connections nationally and globally that are leading to strategic partnerships, referrals and strong support communities.
Here are five key ones that come to mind:
Tory Johnson - WomenForHire, SparkAndHustle, ABC’s Good morning America Workplace contributor. We met on Twitter and Facebook, and I am an advocate for her events. I attended the inaugural Spark and Hustle conference in July 2010 in Atlanta. She is one of the profiles in my upcoming book, provided the cover quote, and chose me to speak at her Orlando Spark and Hustle event in May.
Anita Campbell - Founder of this site, Small Business Trends, Anita is one of the top women in business to follow on many key lists. She has been a guest on my radio show, will be speaking at my Women’s Business and Leadership Conference, and I am writing some articles for her site.
Andy Robinson - Expert Executive Career Coach and Founder of CareerSuccessCommunity. we met on Twitter and LinkedIn. I have had Andy on my radio show several times; he was a keynote at one of my leadership events, and is an active referral source and support community for my career focus.
J.T. O’Donnell - Founder of Careerealism. We met on Twitter and LinkedIn. I now write for J.T.’s site, have had J.T. on my radio show several times, J.T. did the foreword for my book, and we are presenting the 100careereducators.com Summit in partnership this year.
Dan Schawbel - Founder of the PersonalBrandingBlog. Dan and I met through other virtual friends on LinkedIn and Twitter; he invited me to join his blog team and write weekly.
How did this happen?
Here are the things I do to make these relationships happen and keep them growing.
- Reached across the virtual space to make a personal connection through the social platforms, e-mailing, phone or getting together in person.
- Researched, explored and developed the synergies and potential collaboration we had.
- Demonstrated integrity and shared humor.
- Made the effort to connect and network them with others.
- Supported their brands, causes and expertise through my network and communities
- Thanked them for supporting me consistently
- Acknowledged their actions that benefit others
The answer to the question, “Are virtual relationships real relationships?” is a huge, resounding YES.
Where amazing people are spending time. . .
How we are connecting and finding each other. . .
A huge bridge in a big world to meeting people you may have never had an opportunity to meet anywhere else. . .
Go make five key virtual relationships into actionable ones this week!
Who are some of your virtual to actionable success examples?
Did I mention. . . “Turning virtual connections into actionable relationships is not only real, but fun!”