No apologies

It’s time for HR people to quit complaining about knowing each other. Instead, we should be doing all we can to get to know our connections as real people.

Disclaimer – (all good HR people know how to do these . . .)

The following post may seem like name dropping, but it’s not.  It’s about the value of getting to know the people we choose to follow and be connected to.  If that makes me a “clique” former – so be it !!

Now for the post:

Last week the coolest thing happened !!  I received a DM on Twitter from Bryan Wempen asking me what my day looked like. I was a little confused by this since Bryan is normally in Tulsa, OK and I’m in Cincinnati, OH, but I responded.  Turns out he was in town and wanted to see if we could get together. To say I was GEEKED would not give this enough credence !!

Bryan is someone I met through Twitter and also through his incredible blog radio show, Drive Thru HR, which he co-hosts daily with another friend – William Tincup.  We went to our Boudinot location for LaRosa’s and had some great conversations over great pizza !!  I learned more about him, his family and great stories about career, college, etc.

You see, Bryan was inadvertently helping me reach a goal I set for myself for 2011.  I want to meet as many of the people I’m connected to as possible in real life !!  I think this really matters.

I think HR people in the Social Media space are struggling with “what’s next?” when it comes to where things are going.  The piece that’s missing is that we long to really know each other.

Coming up in the next few months, I get to go to the Northern Ohio HR Conference to present and catch up with Joe Gerstandt as well as 100’s of other attendees who may/may not be involved with Social Media.  Also, in April I’m going to HRevolution 2011 and couldn’t be excited enough to meet others that I read about, learn from and communicate with.

There’s more to come in 2011 including the Ohio HR Conference in September where I’m fortunate enough to be this year’s chair !!

I feel that too many HR people keep their heads down when they go to great events like these and worry too much about HRCI credits, where to sit in the room and if the person sitting next to you is going to “bother” you by tweeting instead of listening to the speaker.

Time for this to stop !!

The GREATEST resource at these events are the people sitting next to you, the people in the exhibitor halls and the people milling through the halls !!

So, no apologies.  I plan to meet ALL of you – and I can’t wait !!

13 thoughts on “No apologies”

  1. This is a great message Steve. I know that you practice what you preach, because you reached out to me to chat! Social Media is a terrific starting point, but shouldn’t be the ending point for connecting with our colleagues. It’s “Talk Tuesday”, so that means I need to reach out and talk with a colleague!

  2. Fantastic. I remember the first time I met someone in “real life” that I had known online for a while. It felt really weird. Now it’s something I look forward to.

    I can’t wait for HRevolution to get here to kick off the meet and greet season. There may be other conferences before that, but the guest list for Atlanta is crazy complete.

    On a side note, I can’t help but notice the height discrepancy in that picture…

  3. Amen brother! I am constanly amazed at the folks who attend a conference and don’t take advantage of the opportunity to meet others, network, share, chat and make connections. Now obviously, some people are shy and feel uncomfortable striking up conversations. And some are so super-serious with their little notebooks and adherence to their goal of “don’t talk to me, I’m just here to get credits.” One of the advantages that SM brings to an event (if people could just see it), is the built-in community building that occurs before, during and after the event.

    But I know I’m preaching to the choir.

    I can’t wait to meet you face-to-face in Atlanta!!

  4. Insightful post, Steve! I really liked the spontaneity when Bryan contacted you through Twitter. People and relationships are truly a high priority for you. I’ve seen some of the best, most innovative business opportunities emerge during spontaneous conversations with colleagues. Our “phantom rules”, like social media connections should stay in the social media sphere, or the behaviors we exhibit at conferences, hold us back from many learning opportunities around us. Thanks for showing us the other side and benefits we can reap if we step out of our comfort zones!

    Chrissann Ruehle

  5. Could not agree with you more! Love getting out and meeting people face to face.The printed word can not capture body language, smiles, hugs, a sparkle in someone’s eyes, and true human connection. Plus, I learn something new every time I meet someone and have a conversation. Thanks for the reminder Steve. People forget that humans are truly “social beings”.

  6. Steve I am going to work very hare to get to a bunch of state events this year. YOU are on my list of people to meet as they say IRL. I have had a chance to hang with Bryan on a couple of occassion and he is one great guy, and a innovator. Looking forward to when we meet up Steve. You’re the bomb dude!

  7. steve, as usual… great post and sentiment… what i appreciate most about you is your infectious optimism… can’t wait to hang with you irl this year… keep up the great work with the blog btw.

  8. Yep yep yep yep yep!! There is a barrier, particularly with those that dont network often – which includes a lot of HR folk – that you have to overcome but it does become second nature and more comfortable after a while and thats an important message to get across.

    Also, from my own experience, i have met more people face to through twitter – and i mean great business and personal contacts (Is there a difference today??!) – in the last 12 months than i have via LinkedIn in 6 years of being on there. How ironic that the social/virtual web is driving face to face interaction.

    I too set myself a similar goal Steve so maybe, just maybe we might meet in the flesh this year. You never know!

    Nice post, thanks for sharing.

  9. Steve, when I heard about your goal several months ago I remembered back to early 2009 when I had a similar goal. By the end of that year I had met over 50 HR and business professionals that I knew from Twitter. 2010 introduced me to many more and helped me solidify the relationships I had with that original 50. Social media is such a great connection tool but it’s the face to face meeting that brings the true value. I also love that most of my online friends are huggers like me so when we see each other now it’s like running up and hugging someone from your family. I am SO looking forward to adding you to that list in April and we all can’t wait to meet you.

  10. Your message here is such an important one — you have to take social media to the real world in order to truly benefit from it. Otherwise, you’re little more than a character in a cartoon.

  11. Thanks for all the great comments everyone !! I appreciate that we are connected and know that we’ll get to meet each other just like Bryan and I did. So cool to know that our community is coming to life !!

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