The Surprising Importance of the Offline Meeting

The Importance of the Offline Meeting

The Surprising Importance of the Offline Meeting

People crave connections. While those connections may begin with an online conversation on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, the best connections morph into face-to-face meetings. People sometimes then move back online, and stay in touch for years, meeting online and offline over months and years. But the offline meeting is what forges the connection.

Brainstorming, Laughing, and Whispering

Brainstorming often occurs best in offline meetings, where people are talking, interrupting, laughing, whispering, and in general having a good time. Social media can provide a strong introduction–and you can feel as though you know someone you’ve met online. But you won’t truly know them as well until you meet them offline. For instance, someone you thought was the biggest extrovert IN THE WORLD could suddenly turn into an introvert. Has that happened to you?

Technology Can Only Go So Far

Although we have wonderful technology to bridge the distances between colleagues, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Blab sessions can’t replace the face-to-face meeting, where we can see people roll their eyes, tap their fingers in frustration, or stifle a smile. And many entrepreneurs may dislike online meetings, especially Baby Boomers. By the way, here’s my post about Baby Boomers and Social Media.

Real-Life Meetings Drive Business

In an article from Entrepreneur, 3 Benefits of Meeting Face to Face, Katherine Duncan mentions that Simone uses a personal approach because it’s about “how you make them feel.” You’d never know without meeting in person that a serious person could be the class clown. Or that the class clown online is deadly serious offline. For me, meeting in person has led to more solid connections, and more business.

Body Language

How a person stands, sprawls on a chair, or crosses their arms say a lot about what they’re thinking. None of that comes through online. In this article about The Surprising Power of Body Language, Ronald Riggio writes about how power poses and eye gazes can cause a shift in power. We all know someone whose body language is intimidating. And we all know that person who shrinks when you meet them in person. That first meeting in person is always a surprise.

Get Off Your Phone

Instinctively, we know that meeting in person helps build trust, although being connected to a smart (or dumb!) phone doesn’t. It’s similar to receiving a handwritten card in the mail–something unexpected and unusual, and a good way to stand out. Not to mention when you’re in person you can show off your good manners.

Face to Face Still Matters

Face to Face Still Matters

Face to Face Still Matters

One story stands out to me, and that’s the day a year ago that I met some online friends at WordCamp San Diego. Bridget Willard (You Too Can Be a Guru), my bestie, was going to see Heather Steele of Blue Steele Solutions, since Heather was speaking, so we all decided to meet up. Then we also got to meet Frank and Adam (also of Blue Steele Solutions). We all still talk about that meeting and the long dinner we had with Tracy Phillips and Chef Ivan Flowers. Even though it was a year ago, we all remember that day. Could a tweet go that far? Or a Google Hangout? I don’t think so.

Your Turn

Who have you met and how did that meeting surprise you?

 

 

Comments

  1. That dinner was awesome. I’m glad we lived through piling up in my Fiesta with a hidden seatbelt and a stoplight miss. Great times. Funny how one day can make a great impact.

    • It really was awesome, Bridget! All the traffic and the excitement, and the people in your car–it was flummoxing! I truly believe one day, one hour, one minute, one second can have a great impact. Gee, that could be another blog post, huh?

      And thanks for pushing me to add the story because it helped so much!

      Carol

    • There have been several moments where my past flashed before my eyes and I questioned my life choices, and this was one of them. I stared Death in the eye that day and saw that he was a Ford Fiesta. 😛

  2. Oh man, that dinner was the best! You’re totally right—that dinner made a big difference in the relationship we all have with each other. I can imagine you guys now when you laugh or make a comment online. I’ve got a real sense of how you speak and act that makes the online interactions more realistic, if that makes sense.

    So glad we survived the Fiesta that day 😉

  3. Frank Gomez says:

    Haha don’t forget the printed Google Map directions 😉

    It was very cool to meet everyone in real life – I had been interacting with everyone I met that weekend online before, but usually under a company name or profile. So it was nice to see the actual faces behind the social media accounts!

    I definitely agree with the body language points you made – I’m pretty receptive to body language in real life so interacting online without it can be a little odd for me sometimes.

    • Hi Frank,

      I totally forgot about the printed Google Map directions!

      It was great to meet you online, hear your voice, and share a little cheese. And cheesy jokes, too!

      Hope we can meet again some time.

      Carol

    • OMG I totally forgot about that! You were flabbergasted—I’ve never seen anyone so confused by something. It was like she started carving them out of wood and you were like, “What IS this? What is this… ancient technology?!”

      • Adam,
        I’m still confused by those instructions…on paper! How does it work? It doesn’t even speak out loud! It’s like a Thomas Map Guide from the museum!

        Carol

  4. Oh man, that was one of the best days of my life lol! It was just so great meeting you and Bridget and Tracy! Ohhh and that Ford Fiesta. Man, we made alot of memories in one day!

    • Hi Heather,

      You were so at ease speaking at your seminar. It was really great meeting you, sharing some awesome food with Tracy and Chef Ivan and the whole crew, and driving in the Ford Fiesta! We did so much in one day!

      Carol

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