Does networking in person still matter? I have grown up in the business world working and interacting directly with people for many years. I enjoy it, I look forward to it and I still say it’s where ALL the magic happens in relationships. So now, we have two worlds learning how to blend, balance, and work together: online and web based and offline and in person.
The past four years, so much emphasis and shifting has gone to the web/online world because that is where the growth and movement trends are. In-person networking has taken a hit, as evidenced with down enrollment in chambers, fee based networking events and professional organizations. It’s not that people don’t want to go; it’s simply been a matter of finances, or is it? Are we substituting an e-mail, tweet, post or text for live in person activities thinking that is going to grow relationships?
We cannot ever forget how important and powerful people getting together for face-to-face interaction is and can be. Nor can we allow sending e-mails or texts to replace that face-to-face interaction. The importance of blending your online and offline activities is important simply because it is equally where people are communicating and engaging. They are inter-dependent and inter-related today.
If I meet you online and strike up an online relationship that has value and interest to me, then taking it offline is going to enhance and progress that relationship. If we meet in person, then staying connected online is going to enhance and progress our relationship until we meet in person again.
Why is it so important?
- The power of personally connecting and human interaction accelerates relationship building. In 10 minutes I can know more about someone, or they about me, in person than in 6 months online!
- Finding commonality and common ground comes from having a conversation or discussion on the phone or in person. The energy that passes between people finding out that they have a hobby, favorite book, peer or life experience in common can be profound.
- Making decisions on what the next step is and putting the plan in motion can happen in one minute on the phone or in person, as opposed to multiple e-mails.
I just moved back to my home town of Ft. Lauderdale after a four year career detour on the SW coast of Florida. Although I have many roots from many years and careers, I am reconnecting with the market four years later and in a different professional capacity. I have decided to tap into my network of people and ask to be connected to people who they know who are like minded with me. I will reciprocate and network them with people I may know to do the same for them. Finding out what events, groups and activities they go to is a much better way to find connections.
If you haven’t been out and about enough, make some goals this year to reconnect in person in your community, business world or hobbies. Go where you already have commonality and know people. It’s much easier and faster to get connected, get personal and make some new friends, connections and you just might get that job, interview, or new customer.
How are you choosing your networking events?
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