When I connect with someone for the first time via email, I will usually ask the person if they ever make it to Austin, TX. It’s too easy these days with social networking, email, and blogging to neglect meeting someone in real life. It’s comfortable and we can get away with it, but there is no substitute to meeting a person face to face. Sharing an experience in person, builds a relationship beyond what you could ever do through technology.
I like to meet people in person because it’s more fun. You can have experiences together like watching live music, having dinner, enjoying cocktails, and yes even karaoke. Activities like this give you chances to have fun with each other. When you have fun with someone, the emotional experiences you have carry on throughout your entire relationship. Your closest friends and business partners today are your closest precisely for those reasons. It’s the reason that Asian cultures embrace getting to know each other through dinners, parties, and karaoke as a way to build experiences and relationships before business is ever brought up.
This is also why I tell my friends who want to “network” to connect with someone on a human level rather than a business one. When you connect with someone on a human basis, your relationship will have more depth and breadth. It won’t be easily classifiable. And that’s a great thing.
I’ve found that part of connecting on a real basis involves revealing vulnerability. Talking about issues that make you seem more human is a relief to people meeting you for the first time. They are more willing to reveal their own vulnerabilities. It’s a beautiful thing to see. You can watch the layers of someones persona peel off like an onion as you get closer and closer to the core of that person’s self.
So of course, I will tell all of you, when you’re in Austin, let’s go get some margaritas, eat Tex-Mex, and go out on the town. Let’s get a group together and have fun. Let’s remember to live first, and remember that everything else will follow. Connect with me now, and when we’re in the same town, we’ll go get in some trouble.