The New Black: Personal Relationships
By: Pam Nulman, APR, CPRC

Personal relationships are back in vogue. That’s right. The old-fashioned face-to-face, let’s get together and talk in person or via phone type of relationship. 

No, it’s not time to give up your smart phone or iPad, but it is time to set them aside occasionally, disconnect digitally, and dive in for some direct human interaction. 
In the recent 2010 Happiness Survey conducted in 16 countries (including the U.S.), 40% of those surveyed said catching up with loved ones at the end of a work day was the happiest time of their day.  Conversely, only 5% said they were happiest when connecting with friends online.
The latest wave of building relationships online…is to take them offline.  Tweetups, Meetups, and special events solely for niche online communities are mushrooming as we build relationships online and then over time start feeling the need to meet our “digital” friends and get to know them on a more personal level.   “Putting faces with names” as we used to say in the pre-social media age. 
We recently spent a full day at PR University in Southwest Florida, embracing the power of personal relationships and by extension – networking for success.  We’ve captured the thoughts of outstanding speakers Andy Robinson, Greta Schulz and Josh Hallett, amongst many others, on our FPRASWFLBLOG.  It wasn’t just the power of the speakers that drove home the importance of personal relationships, it was also the personal connections with fellow PR and marketing professionals that day.  I know of job opportunities discussed, possible leads on new clients, and ideas shared on engaging the next generation of PR leaders throughout the day. 
Still questioning the validity of personal relationships in our digitially-driven age?  In a 2009 survey conducted by Harvard Business Review, almost 95% of those surveyed said “face-to-face meetings” are critical to successful long term relationships.

One way to build personal relationships is to join, and become actively involved with, a professional trade organization.  In Southwest Florida, the Florida Public Relations Association has been providing professional development and networking opportunities to public relations and marketing professionals for more than 25 years. If you’re not a member, I invite you to join.  If you are a member, I hope you are using the resources of the organization to power your success.  

Get in style. Get personal.