The Internet is a powerful place. We meet like-minded people from all across this wonderful world. We socialize with our new friends via an array of different social networking sites, and these relationships grow stronger as we invest time in them.
This is a magical experience to me, and one that becomes even better when I meet my online friends offline, “in real life”.
In my book, New Business Networking, I write about some of my personal experiences with meeting online friends in person and what transpired. There is something special about that moment when you reach out and shake their hand, give them a high-five, or even better, a hug.
I have often met many of my online friends in person at conferences like South by Southwest or Consumer Electronics Show, but not everybody has a budget for attending such events. This shouldn’t stop you though.
The truth is, you are probably conversing online with many people who reside in your city. Our hometowns provide countless topics for discussion and debate, so it is only natural that you meet other locals. Can you find a way to invite these people to meet in person? Forget what your parents said; you must talk to strangers.
Here is Your Homework
Do a little digging for local events worth attending to meet the people you converse with online. If an event doesn’t exist, plan one and invite them. Don’t charge a fee to attend, and include a cash bar. It’s dead simple to do this. I created Geek Breakfast, which now has chapters across the US, Australia, South Africa, and in Canada on this very model. You can do this too.
We meet people in person to build stronger relationships, which may lead to business opportunities down the road. Not only can these lead to more such opportunities, but they can also result in new friendships.
Leave a comment with the event you are planning (or planning to attend) and the city you reside in. Who knows, maybe fellow Owner readers from your town will see this and connect with you in person too.
Do it. You will be glad you did.
Photo by Nicola Corboy
This post originally appeared in Owner Magazine.