Business Relationships: Disingenuous or Genuine?
I think we've all had the experience of running into an acquaintance at a business event only to be greeted with a haphazard handshake and disinterested small talk. Recently, my experience was just the opposite. Earlier this month I stopped by Inbound Marketing Summit (IMS) in Boston on the afternoon of the last day of the show. I was in the process of inquiring about buying a one-day pass when a member of the IMS team, Stephan Saber walked up. I know him from working with some of his affiliated companies in years past. He was kind enough to give me a complimentary pass. I certainly wasn't looking for a free ride, but I greatly appreciated the gesture. Especially since Stephan and I are just acquaintances and he had nothing to gain financially from my presence. But without hesitation he ushered me in. This speaks to the true value of the relationship. It's not in the free ride, it's that he extended himself just to be a good guy. We spent a while catching up on the cool things going on at The Pulse Network, and I told him about my new adventure at Apperian, and then I sat down to listen to a great talk on Social CRM.
As it turns out, a friend of mine Tim Hayden, noticed that I checked in on Foursquare. He reached out to me on twitter and we decided to grab lunch before his talk on The Future of Mobile Marketing. Tim is a friend, but not someone I typically see outside of trade shows. What's amazing about Tim is that he values the relationship above all else. I spent the next hour listening intently about his beautiful new baby boy and his very cool new mobile company called 44Doors. Unfortunately, I couldn't stay for his talk because this was my last day in Boston and I needed to head back to the office. As I was walking out I ran into Chris Brogan. Chris is essentially the founder of Inbound Marketing Summit, among other things. I know that this blog is focused on developers and the enterprise community, so some of you may not know him. Chris is legendary for his expertise in social media, marketing and humanizing brands. I've been fortunate to work with Chris on some cool projects. We are friends, but not the type that hang out on Thanksgiving. I'm qualifying our friendship to help make a point. As I was walking toward the exit I noticed Chris sitting in a circle of three guys having what looked like a very important conversation, displaying that lean in, I'm very busy sort of demeanor about them.
I was planning on moving past and then sending Chris a note later to thank him for the great event. He noticed me walk by and without hesitation got up to shake my hand, and give me a hug. Chris didn't do this for any reason other then he's a nice guy who genuinely cares about human relationships. I knew he was busy, and he knew that I knew that he was busy. It wasn't just a gesture, it was genuine. As we move forward from one career to another, from conference to airport to hotel and home again; it's important to remember to slow down and take time to create and nurture human relationships. My experience that afternoon reminded me to continue to do the same.
Have you gone out of your way to stay connected, in-person?