Last week was the perfect example of how Social Media, and particularly LinkedIn, can be a great first point of contact in the Networking Process.
Let me tell you my lovely and totally true story. A few weeks ago, I began the process of customizing my talk for the ERC (Employee Relocation Conference) on Enhancing Career Relationships. This led me to a random search on LinkedIn for attendees of the Chicago event. The first person I came across was Michelle Sandlin, a relocation expert from Houston Texas.
I sent her a LinkedIn invite with a note letting her know that I was speaking at the conference, and asking her permission to do an informational interview to better understand the industry. She was charming, and a week before the conference we had a great conversation about this very specific industry.
I arrived in Chicago late on Wednesday, the night before the conference. To my utter amazement and surprise the Hyatt Regency had upgraded me to the Presidents palatial suite. It was too fabulous not to share, and the only person I knew at the conference, or at least knew virtually was Michelle. So, I called her and reintroduced myself, and much to her surprise insisted she come and see my extraordinary suite. Michelle was charming, friendly and warm, and once she saw my remarkable accommodations, she invited a few of her friends to join us.
Anyway, what transpired was a warm, convivial evening and the introduction to many new friends and potential business associates.
Why I am sharing this story with you, is to remind us all of the power of social media in making the initial contact. Had I not gone onto LinkedIn I would never have known Michelle would be at the conference, and chances are we would never have met. The point also, is once you have made contact ONLINE, that is no guarantee of a meaningful relationship. It was meeting IN PERSON, that has made the real difference, and solidified what I believe will be a lifelong COLLABORATION.
To read Michelle’s side of the story, please click here.
Just another way we can expand our networks, and transform initial connections into real collaboration.