For many, the Internet’s availability and easy access of social networking has become the way they ‘network’ today. Statistics confirm that 39% of Americans now spend more time socializing online than they do in person. In addition, 20% prefer communication via text or email to talking face-to-face or over the phone. While social media has become a phenomenon you ignore at your own peril, don’t discount the impact face-to-face networking can have.
While the internet can give you the ability to ‘connect’ with vast numbers of people, what can result from using online social media as your only networking solution is this oxymoron: more, but less. More connections, but less substance in the relationship.
There are numerous benefits to utilizing face-to-face networking as a way to grow your business and have your brand recognized by many. Here are only a few:
- You receive immediate and direct feedback. How often is an “invite” sent to try to connect, but days go by until any kind of response is received — if you’re lucky enough to get a response at all? With face-to-face networking, you get an immediate response… for better or worse. You ask a question, and you receive an answer.
- You showcase you! This is an opportunity to show off your personality, read the other person’s body language, and build credibility while gaining insight to the other person’s business and personality. You will personally get to know your prospects and customers better and become more confident in the interaction that you share.
- No misunderstanding of the message. Having a face-to-face conversation allows you to tailor your message to the person to whom you are speaking, and allows for less chance of a simple tonal or attitude perception we sometimes get from an email or text.
- It’s professional. Most business executives actually prefer to communicate face-to-face. That is because it helps build solid relationships, and you can respond to each other’s energy and passion.
Make no mistake, online social networking can and should be used as a form of warm communication, and is here to stay. However, combining that with face-to-face networking will give you a huge advantage. There’s a time and a place for all types of communication, and in the business world, knowing those circumstances is everything. If you have not expanded on your face-to-face networking, give it a try. It might even help you close a few deals!