Even though I’ve worked in the digital space for years, I’ve touted for a long time that I’m better in real life. That I’m wittier, quicker, more articulate, and sassier. That my online personality can only capture so much, and that I only provide it so many allowances.
I’ve preached that if you distribute all your worth digitally, what’s the value in getting to know you (this holds true for brands, too) personally. I’ve also held meetups and networking groups that never publish guest lists, and encourage guests to go a full five minutes before asking the other attendees about their professional or digital lives at the hope of cultivating more meaningful and interesting conversation. I don’t Google people I know I’m going to be meeting in my personal life in advance, I want to give them the chance to tell their own story and have real conversations. I’m passionate about real conversations.
Today I attended TechCrunch Disrupt, thanks to a comped pass from Michael Arrington himself. Having never met him in person, I was eager to make the real world connection that I value so much. Heading backstage I had a list a mile long of things I wanted to chat with, from the Facebook IPO to his current job title on LinkedIn (which makes me laugh) to branded experiential technologies that we’re making at Supertou.ch to life out in Seattle. I prepped myself with chockablock quips and insights, so that the real life conversation would be sure to impress this guy that has impressed me digitally for years.
And when I finally met him, I had nothing. Like, nothing. Awkward as awkward gets. Stage fright/deer in the headlights kind of awkward. And I walked away with a sudden disheartening realization — maybe I am better professionally online…at least on the introduction/first impression stage.
So how do you remedy that kind of set back? How do you make your first [professional] impression meaningful when content preparation isn’t where you fall short?