Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Taking It Personally

Recently I suggested to a new, local editor that we meet in person to discuss some story assignments. She acquiesced, though I sensed she found it an unusual request.

Today I called a business prospect who responded to my initial email with an email asking several involved questions, and wanting a rate quote. Since he'd included a toll-free telephone number, thinking to connect as well as expedite the process, I phoned this morning.

He sounded nonplussed when I identified myself, saying, "I'd prefer to communicate by email if you don't mind. I'm interviewing a number of candidates." I felt like part of an assembly line, and dismissed — not to mention a lot less inclined to continue this potential "relationship".

Yet truth be told (because I always strive to share the complete story), I didn't accord his online post any more importance initially than any of the other ads I receive daily as a member of a freelance writers' network. With these sites, I troll for new business by sending out fairly generic letters, customized as the posting warrants.

Does the fact that he knew who I was make a difference, assuming he received numerous replies?

I can appreciate both perspectives. I opt for going the extra step and connecting via phone or even face-to-face when possible — especially if we're going to work together. Yet I've also enjoyed working virtually with many individuals and businesses around the world for many years. I see it as a question of balance.

How personally should we take or make our virtual connections? Your thoughts?

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