I had my second book signing on Thursday at Stone Rose Lounge. It was a huge success. There was a great turnout and we sold many books. However, it was a note I received the following day that meant the most to me. A woman building manager named Meredith whom I have known for several years had shown up at the event. She commented to me how unusual it was for a “mover” (my day job) to also be an author. She marveled at the incongruity of it all. I took the time to talk with her, and we had a nice connection. The note stated how much she had enjoyed the signing event, and how it had inspired her to attend another event the same night and meet new people. I was especially touched by the fact that the content of my book matters, and can actually help people. Sometimes I focus more on the sheer number of attendees and books sold, but it is the individual people who are affected by the events, the material in the book, and that I am “walking the talk” that is important. Networking is really about making that deeper connection and adding meaning to your life. My book and signing event had a positive effect on Meredith’s life and made a difference. That is what really inspires me to keep doing what I am doing. Part of the purpose of these events is to allow people to connect with each other. If I sell books in the process, that is good. But what really matters are the relationships that develop, and if I can nurture that process, then my work has some value.
Social media is ubiquitous. We are being implored, seduced, and threatened that we must use it or perish. I was initially a reluctant participant, entering each new platform and site with trepidation and doubt. I considered myself an “old school” networker who met others face-to-face rather than virtually. However, a few years later and I am a strong advocate of using social media to expand your network…and your message. It started with LinkIn, was followed by my blog, Facebook, and then Twitter. I have become quite active in all of those platforms, but never stopped meeting others face-to-face in networking groups, for coffee, and meals. It is really the confluence of social media and face-to-face networking that makes an effective marketing strategy. Social media allows you to take your campaign global without leaving your office (or computer), while the face-to-face interactions give others a sense of you as a real flesh and blood human being. Just as a good football team has to have a varied attack (rushing and passing), an effective networker must also vary the attack. Continue to show up to mixers and gatherings, all the while remaining active and visible in social media of your choice. You don’t have to tweet, but you do have to meet. Remain open minded, because one thing we can be sure of, and that is change. Stay aware and stay connected, not only for the business benefits, but also for the intrinsic joy of being connected in a meaningful way with others.