There is a lot of chatter/scandal/talk about the Notre Dame football player Manti T’eo who made headlines when he talked about his girlfriend who died – yet, as it turns out, she never actually existed. It was part of a big online hoax – with details still to be uncovered.
These days most of us have our faces and fingers buried in our devices – texting, emailing, facebooking (that’s a verb now I guess), tweeting, etc. It’s quick, convenient and easy to communicate with buttons and wi-fi. And while I think that they are great ways to connect, I have to say, there is also nothing like meeting face-to-face.
You need the face-to-face, not all the time, but now and again for sure.
My book came out a couple of months ago. It has been an amazing ride so far. Most of the marketing has been from social media – communicating with buttons and pictures. And I have gotten some wonderful online feedback from people telling me that it has inspired them and that they are really enjoying the book. This is all wonderful.
I have to say though – what was truly amazing, happened in a small living room, huddled around a fireplace in Middleboro, MA on a cold Thursday night.
I was invited to be a guest author at a small bookclub that was just starting out and Year of Action was their first book. I was blown away.
To be sitting with people I had never met, who had read my book, and talking about how it had inspired them and motivated them to take action and start making changes in their lives – nearly left me in tears. It hit me for the first time that what I was doing was important and that I was making a difference – to real people – and I needed to keep going. I suddenly realized that this was so much bigger than me – it is taking on a life of its own.
I had heard (read) these words online but to experience it all in person was incredible: seeing their dog-eared pages, highlights, notes; seeing their faces light up as they discussed their fears and how they pushed through the fears to try something new; getting out of their comfort zone; starting to really live their life – was something I hadn’t felt online.
Connecting is connecting. It’s not an “either or” proposition. Sometimes online is best. Sometimes face-to-face. Mostly a blend of the two is ideal.
I don’t know any more of the details of the football player girlfriend scandal – nor do I really care to. What I do care about is helping people to connect – with themselves, with each other and with new people. This includes being smart, being aware and being safe.
We are all pioneers in this. Technology makes the world a much smaller place. We have an incredible power to get our message out and to reach people that would have been impossible to reach just a few years ago. It is also important to remember that we are people too – and not just buttons and wi-fi.
This is true not only in relationships but in business.
People want to do business with people. Real people. People they like. People they trust. Get out there and meet your customers. Listen to them in person. Watch them talk about your product. Look in their eyes. See the joy (or frustration) in their faces. They are real. They want to be heard.
You have the power to create authentic connections – whether it’s on a screen, by a fire or in the aisles in your store. Get out there and connect – for real.