Here’s a trend I’ve noticed when getting introduced to people via technology requiring the written word—email, Linked In, Twitter. When I first introduce myself, people will often reply something to the effect of “nice to ‘meet’ you.” The quotation marks around the word meet are significant. The meaning I derive from those quotations marks are that we have sort of made each others’ acquaintance, but not quite.
So the question becomes, at what point have we “met”? When do you actually feel like you’ve made a connection with someone? Up until this year, my yardstick would have been that in order to feel “connected” I would need at least one substantial phone conversation. To me, hearing someone’s voice has been crucial to what I call the Sniff Test. (The Test is a very unscientific method by yours truly in which I metaphorically give them a “sniff” to determine our compatibility. It’s gross, I know.)
Over the past few years, my perception of what suffices for meeting people has been shifting. For example, I provided services to a client in Texas for three years before we actually met face-to-face. Since using Twitter, the sniff test yardstick has changed even more dramatically. I find that people’s tweets can give me initial insight into whether we would be a good fit for one another. It’s not fool proof, and I still need that voice-to-voice connection to get the good vibe on someone. And overall, my preference is very old-school—I love connecting face-to-face with people.
What’s your connection yardstick? At what point are you willing to say about someone, “Oh, yes—we’ve met.”?