Skip to main content

Viewpoint: Pondering the In-Person Experience

Sharath Abraham Viewpoint
(Image credit: Future)

While commuting into New York City on the bus, I ponder a lot of things while I stare at the ever-changing skyline. One thing I have been thinking about recently is if people still give out business cards when meeting in person these days.

Before the pandemic, many people would go to meetings or in-person events (opens in new tab) and always leave with at least a few business cards. Now, I think about where the business cards have been before me—and how sanitary there are. This, of course, is my own self paranoia.

In addition, isn’t it more sustainable to not use paper to print out business cards? I personally don’t care for business cards and find it much easier to say, “Let’s connect on LinkedIn.” I would think in a nearly post-pandemic world that this simple interaction provides the most up-to-date information that a business contact would want to know.

[Beyond the Tech: Define Your Sales Success] (opens in new tab)

Business cards do have a certain interaction aspect; the ritual of handing a card to someone while talking to them sends a message: “I like you, we should talk more.” In that case, maybe the answer is to have a premium business card, perhaps including some type of metallic foil finish, so it’s memorable.

Puzzle of Personality

Also during my commute, I often find a TED Talk to watch after my pondering. Recently, I watched a psychologist named Brian Little talk about the “puzzle of personality.”

In the TED Talk, he explained that extroverts need stimulation that can be achieved by finding things that are exciting, such as social events or parties. Introverts, on the other hand, like to spend time in quiet spaces with reduced simulation—but they are typically misconstrued as being antisocial.

Do you know how you want to greet someone? Handshake? Fist bump? Namaste bow? Pick one and stick to it.

They also communicate differently. Extroverts like to stand close for comfortable communication and simple language, where introverts prefer contextually complex, contingent sentences.

[Viewpoint: Hidden Safety Concerns Should Be Top Priority for Event Productions] (opens in new tab)

As we attend more in-person meetings and events, is this something we should all be mindful of? Yes, it’s good to know, but Brian said a very interesting thing: “You’re like some other people and like no other person.” That got me thinking: My in-person interactions must be more thoughtful. I need to be more curious about who I am talking to and where they came from before our interaction.

Are You Ready?

Right before my bus rolls into the Port Authority, I think about what events are coming up soon. InfoComm 2022 (opens in new tab) is one that is on my mind a lot these days. It’s been maybe three years since I have been to one in person, and a lot has changed. One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is the value of in-person interaction. These personal interactions can be more meaningful if you have a couple of things ready.

Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date. Update it to include your most recent bio and career information. If you are going to use business cards, review them with your co-workers to see if there are any way to make them stand out more. No better time to make new ones.

Figure out why you are going to the in-person event. Is it to make new connections? Learn something new? Find new things? All of the above?

Do you know how you want to greet someone? Handshake? Fist bump? Namaste bow? Pick one and stick to it. Still feeling a little unsure about COVID-19? Bring some masks and hand sanitizer. Most importantly, bring your wholehearted genuine self and beautiful smile.

Personally, I can’t wait to see old friends and make new ones. I can’t wait to hear stories of everyone’s trials and tribulations and getting through them. I can’t wait to hear stories of accomplishments and new feats. I can’t wait to hear about new hobbies and family updates. I can’t wait to hear story that will inspire me to think differently and be creative in a new way.

Virtual events (opens in new tab) have been a great placeholder for in-person events, but I am ready for 2022. See you all at InfoComm in Vegas!

Sharath Abraham, CTS, is an experienced technical professional with a demonstrated history of working with products that are designed and built to work together as a complete system for the best end user experience. He is currently a digital workplace consultant for Accenture. Abraham was featured in the 2020 class of SCN: The Nine and holds a master’s degree in computer information systems.