“People person” is a phrase that will go down in history as one of the most overused by job-seekers. Most people can say that they have used the term when being interviewed for a new job. I know I have. But what does it really mean in today’s world, when we have been overwhelmed with technology and essentially encouraged to disconnect from face to face contact with others?
There are a couple of answers to this question. The most obvious of course being to put the iDevice, laptop, or cell phone down and just connect with others on a basic level. The blog entry It’s Time to Stop Focusing on New Technology discusses some great ways that businesses and marketers are able to both utilize technology to facilitate people-to-people communication as well as to unplug and influence others.
Sometimes working on getting more face to face time in is easily done. Instead of emailing or texting a co-worker, get up from your desk and go chat with them about what is happening in the office. Make a point to get together with a friend for lunch and request that it be a cell-phone free date. In a small business environment, having a face to face meeting with your employees to chat about what is going on that day, week, or even month can help to facilitate great conversation. Instead of being short and to the point, like an email or text message would be, this gives employees an opportunity to share and discuss ideas organically.
It’s also possible to connect with people on a personal level using technology. Becoming more of a people person while using all of the technology that we are afforded can be a little tougher, especially those of us who have embraced it because we are naturally introverted. It is better to break out of social media though because the value of meeting someone face to face is much better. However, it’s really important to make and keep connections with people, even if it only is over social media.
In the business world, there are some great websites that can be used to encourage connections with other individuals. Some examples would include:
- LinkedIn. Not only can you put your profile on LinkedIn, you can also send messages back and forth to other people who are in your professional network. Make a point to reach out to those in your industry to make connections, whether they are personal or professional.
- Facebook. I know, I know, everyone already knows about Facebook. But consider using it to make real connections rather than to just browse. Post thoughtful comments or send messages to the pages of businesses that you admire or are interested in. I think sometimes we forget that there is an actual person (or several people) on the other end of the page.
It is also possible to use the Internet to find ways to connect with people in person. Many of us limit our connections to times that we are “online,” including being available by cell phone. But you can also use the internet as a resource to find ways to meet others. Some examples of sites for personal use:
- Meetup.com. Meetup.com is an awesome resource for finding all kinds of different groups of people to meet in person. Meetup.com has a bit of a reputation as a way for moms to meet other moms, but there are so many other types of groups out there. In a quick search, I found groups in my area for kayaking, Christian singles, and wine lovers.
- Match.com. There are so many dating sites out there, and match.com is just one easy example. Sites like this offer users the opportunity to communicate online, but also encourage people to get out and meet in person. While possible, it’s certainly not recommended to conduct an entire romantic relationship online.
It is important to consider that personal relationships still need maintenance, even in a world of technology. At the core, we are still human and are built on the need for interaction, which is why business is getting personal again. Don’t limit that interaction to technology. Continue to cultivate your people skills, and you will be successful both in business and personal relationships.