Here’s a math problem for you: Take a look at your life over the past days, weeks, or months, and compare how much you spent in front of a screen (including phone, computer, TV), with how much time you spent face-to-face with someone. If you’re like a lot of us, the screen time wins out over face time, every time.
Here’s what we also know: When it comes to landing bigger opportunities, more business, or promotions, it’s face time that counts. We know that people do business with people they know, like, and trust, and it’s hard for most of us to build that trust through email alone.
That’s where things can get tough: How do we get more face time in front of our managers, clients, buyers, when the majority of our life is spent on email, or texting, or working virtually from our home offices? Here are a few thoughts:
Set face time goals. I once had a professor in business school who told us to have -lunch once a week.- In other words, each week, we should set a goal of having lunch (or coffee, or whatever) with someone new. Whether it’s lunch with someone new once a week, or reconnecting (in person) with your biggest clients or former employers once a quarter, set some personal face time goals for yourself to meet.
Create face time -economies of scale.’ There are times when you can get plenty of face time bang for your buck – think of speaking at a chapter meeting of your association, joining a volunteer committee, or taking advantage of other opportunities to get in front of a large group. No, this won’t provide you with an intimate one-on-one meeting with someone, but it does remind others that you’re still out there and keeps you fresh in their minds.
Rethink the classic -face time’ definition for yourself. We’re given thousands of ways to inexpensively connect with customers, family, and friends, without having to spend the time and money to get on a plane or drive through traffic. Skype, videoconferencing, webinars, an interactive blog, and frequent, helpful communication go a long way in creating virtual face time with our communities. Still, when you consider the best relationships in your life, whether professional or personal, it’s probably been face time that’s made that happen. After all, it’s great to Skype with Mom, but that’s no substitute for a hug. Apply this lesson to your career, and use face time strategically to strengthen your relationships.