Building #IRL Relationships in a Screen-driven World

Have you ever thought you knew someone only to realize that you’ve never actually met, and all of your interactions have been on Instagram? Or have you ever thought about a conversation you recently had, only to realize you had commented on a lively Twitter thread, and no actual dialogue was exchanged?


More times than not, our on and offline relationships simply don’t intersect—but even the most popular social platforms are encouraging us to seek out “in real life” interactions more often. Facebook’s “More Together” campaign highlights communities that have formed online, such as dog lovers and motorcycle aficionados, meeting up offline. LinkedIn recently launched a London-based pop up pub, The Linked Inn, to support networking and job hunting in the physical world.

As dietitians working in nutrition communications, where building and maintaining relationships with our peers in the nutrition community is an essential aspect of our work, this topic has been on our minds lately. So, to put our thoughts into action, we decided to host some of our registered dietitian and nutrition influencer peers for a sweatworking (a hybrid workout and networking gathering) breakfast within a conference room turned “yoga studio” in Ketchum’s New York office.

It is not only important for us as registered dietitians at Ketchum to build these IRL relationships, but also for our peers to connect with each other to discuss nutrition trends and hot topics offline. We act as the connector who facilitates meaningful moments that helps grow their network, which, in turn, makes us an invaluable relationship to them.

Some of the attendees of our inaugural sweatworking event shared their thoughts on other ways communication professionals can build and maintain relationships with media, experts and influencers offline…

I think personal interaction goes a long way! I love coffee dates and I also love when research is flagged with insights that you think I’d be interested in. You’d be surprised by how many canned email pitches I get. Dozens. Every. Day. – Samantha Cassetty MS, RD

I always try to make time to step away from my desk for a healthy activity, especially a yoga class, with my nutrition colleagues and media relationships. I guess you could say that I prefer to walk and talk in-person vs. communicating behind a computer/phone screen. Relationships can definitely grow stronger when given the right opportunity to flourish. – Keri Gans, MS, RDN

I love interactive networking that also allows me to learn something and build relationships at the same time. For instance, something like an improv class. – Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD

I find sweatworking so valuable professionally because not only does it give you the opportunity to help maintain relationships you have built, but it also gives you the opportunity to connect with other professionals that you may never have crossed paths with on your own. – Nora Minno, RD, CDN, CPT

It’s always nice to have more authentic connections and build relationships outside of social media.  For example, when Facebook sends a daily reminder of who’s birthday it is, we always like to send a personalized note by email or text, or mail a card to deepen the bond.Lyssie, Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT

Now more than ever, communication professionals are stretched for time and keeping in touch with our relationships is easier by screen. But the relationship becomes stronger when we take a moment to connect in more meaningful ways.

And, needless to say, we are planning to host more gatherings like this one to bring nutrition experts together offline. Connect with us here to learn more!

Jaime Schwartz Cohen MS, RD, is SVP, Director of Nutrition, based in Ketchum’s New York office. When she’s not consuming food and nutrition news, she’s practicing portion control to satisfy her sweet tooth and finding balance with running and yoga. Jaime was a 2014 Ketchum Global Scholar, spending time with London, Amsterdam and Brussels colleagues and continues to support Ketchum teams around the world. In 2016, she launched Ketchum’s Borderless Nutrition News, an e-newsletter reporting on insights and observations from the global nutrition community.

Lisa Bruno MS, RD, is a Managing Account Supervisor based in Ketchum’s New York office. As a second-career dietitian, Lisa has played the role of a traditional communications professional working with a variety of lifestyle and wellness brands before returning to school to become an RD, and hone her entrepreneurial spirit as a business owner of fitness and nutrition studios. Ultimately her passion for educating and engaging with thought leaders brought her back to communications as a specialist focusing on key opinion leader engagement and nutrition communications. When she isn’t digesting nutrition related information (pun intended), you can find her testing recipes, mentoring RDs to Be, and running (literally) all around.