J.D. “Jim” Fox, Head Coach, Next Act Coaching
Question One: How many connections do you have on LinkedIn? If it’s above a certain threshold (500, last I heard), you attain “All Star” status. Woo hoo! Starry
Ones, how many of your 500+ have you actually met or even emailed?
Question Two: have you tried meeting people online for dating or hookups? If so, have their pictures been current, and their self-descriptions accurate? How about your own? How long have you been 33?
Question Three: Actually, there’s no need for another question; you know where this is going. Digital is quick and casts a wide net. But, it’s kind of fake, or at least limited. At least. Limited. Tweet, tweet.
The research I’ve seen indicates that personal connections are something like 30 times better than digital ones. “Better” is defined a number of ways — more likely to last a while, or to produce a referral, or to yield recommendations on LinkedIn.
As a coach, not to mention a business owner, I struggle with this all the time. I do force myself out there, but often fall back into the digital hole.
Why? Simple. It’s easier and so much less risky. Or at least that’s the way it feels to introverts like me. We all know sales people who thrive on this; they ain’t us.
The solution? More personal contacts, of course. As many as you can stand, and in as safe and targeted a way as you can engineer. It’s not as big a numbers game as digital, but still a game.
There’s always paid help available, of course. Coaches are strongly encouraged to hire “mentor coaches” who specialize in business development. Caterers’ livelihoods depend on the mixers at professional societies. My personal favorite are those matchmakers whose ads are found in the last few pages of glossy magazines. Dolly Levi remains a huge hit on Broadway. Hello!
One way or another, it’s all about connecting with each other, and smart shy people like me will always look to cut corners.
It’s a new year; maybe time for all of us shy folk to try again. If you find a cool new way to work it without having to show up in person, we’ll buy your book. Or app. Or even listen to your TED Talk.