Lest We Forget, a Personal Touch Still Matters

Completely Automated Networking Won't Get You Far

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McKenzie Koch McKenzie Koch
Each day I check my favorite marketing blogs and I'm always hearing "digital-this" and "social networking-that." The Twitterverse is constantly buzzing, and my Facebook updates come faster than my e-mails.

Amid the constant hyperactivity of our online social exchanges, I can pretty much guarantee that you've never actually met or shared a one-on-one conversation with a high percentage of your online "friends."

As our online social circles expand, we take full advantage of the convenience. It's often easier to shoot someone an e-mail or to tweet at them than make a five-minute phone call. And thank-you notes, who needs them? Why not send a thank-you e-mail?

The answer: Because you are a person, not a face on a screen. If you forget the importance of a personal touch, you're making a mistake. Make sure to remember the following:

Old-fashioned, regular networking is still important. The best way to represent your personal brand? In person. Reach out to the execs in your line of work. Invite them to lunch or ask if you could call to discuss a certain topic. Then follow through. Most likely they'll be more than happy to chat with you because they were once in your shoes.

Thank-you notes are for the U.S. Postal Service, not Microsoft Outlook. Take the time to hand-write a thank-you note and put it in the mailbox. It's considerate, and it shows that you took the time to make an extra effort.

Drop-in meetings may not be appropriate, but a phone call isn't out of place. E-mail is great, and for most of us, the most convenient method of contact. But there's something to be said for someone who has a high-quality message or product and is willing to give you a call, rather than spam your inbox.

I decided to try number one out on my own, and so far it's been working well. I reached out to two agency executives in my area. Both were happy to talk to me for about 30 minutes and had some great input. Look for their thoughts and a summary of my interviews with them in the next week or two.

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