I frequent local coffee shops a good bit in my job, whether it is meeting clients or new business prospects. Recently I arrived early for an appointment which gave me the opportunity to do one of my favorite things…people watch. Honestly, it is one of the most interesting and entertaining past times.
As I observed those around me several business truths emerged for me and the biggest is the sheer power of person to person interaction. In this age of technology I wonder if we have forgotten the great benefits that occur when we connect with each other face to face.
As I watched those around me, I observed these benefits:
- Facial expressions and tone of voice emphasize the importance of an issue or excitement for a new product or service.
- People learn who you are by the way you dress, carry yourself, to the way you like your coffee. Each are expressions of relationship.
- Community is built with those around you. And let’s face it, we do business with people we like and feel comfortable with.
- Unexpected encounters occur as you see folks at the next table – perhaps an opportunity for a future conversation.
In a nutshell, these dynamics are a way relationships are built. And that’s how business grows.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am a fan of technology and recognize its role and power to enable commerce. And for geographical differences face to face interactions are difficult so technology is a crucial tool. However, I wonder how often we are letting technology replace human interactions.
I encourage you to take the “people challenge”. In the coming week look for opportunities to:
- Schedule a cup of coffee with a person in another department just to get to know more about them.
- Visit your co-worker in their workspace instead of sending him or her an email.
- Say hello to everyone in your department – which means you are getting out of your office.
- Visit a customer’s office. Don’t sell anything – just say hello.
Choose to get to know those around you and let them get to know you. Who knows what those face to face interactions will bring? They could begin some great new opportunities for you.