MAD Perspectives Blog

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 Cultivating Relationships

Peggy Dau - Monday, February 06, 2012

I'm in London this week, cultivating relationships. What's interesting about this trip is that it is driven my belief in the power of face to face meetings, despite the fact that many of these relationships are maintained using social media. Over the course of careers we meet many contacts. Some of these contacts blossom into mutually beneficial business relationships, and many times, into true friendship. Like other social media enthusiasts, I do believe that social media provides an additional forum for sustaining business relationships.

If we look at the evolution of business communication, it has always been about the spoken and written word. The methods for written communication have simply evolved. While the spoken word in facet to face meetings or video and phone calls allows the best understanding of nuance, the written word provides a tangible account of intention, meetings, actions, goals and metrics. The options for creating that record has simply expanded over time.  From letters to faxes to email to social media, we capture and communicate our purpose.  

The challenge with social media is adapting to a open form of communication. Letters, faxes and emails were shared with a specific audience. Social networks widen the reach of our communication, which can be intimidating. However, it can also be extremely beneficial. We can reach out to our colleagues quickly and easily.  Of course, we need to pay attention to what we are saying. We need to be thoughtful about the content shared and the frequency of sharing. We must think about our goals for communicating as well as the needs of our audience.

I primarily use LinkedIn and Twitter for business purposes. I share my thoughts on social media for B2B, communication technologies and high tech. My posts have led to many face to face meetings leading to new insights and new business.  My connections have helped me fulfill deliverables for clients. On the flip side, I pay attention to what my connections are saying and what they need. This has led to my making introductions that I feel are beneficial.  Much of this is no different than what we have all done in the past - and continue to do in our daily business lives. Social media simplifies our ability to keep up with our network.

I'm enjoying my time in London, face to face meetings are fantastic. However, I know that I will use all forms of communication - email, social media, phone, Skype, to keep up with these colleagues once I've returned home. Maintaining business relationships is one key to success. Taking advantage of all the tools available to us is the key to successful cultivation!

What's your perspective?