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Is online networking as powerful as face-to-face networking?

With the rise of the Internet and people using online services now more than ever, it would be easy to assume that face-to-face networking is a dying art. Why venture out of the house or office when you can contact anyone, anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds? And if you’re a bit shy and not fond of ‘working the room’, surely online networking is the way to go? Online networking works well for many reasons:

  • You can reach a wider audience and therefore build a larger network

  • You can narrow down your searches to people in similar industries or who fit your target market

  • You can network at all hours of the day and night, and it’s fast

  • There’s no social awkwardness or fumbling over your words

However, online networking doesn’t allow you to build a memorable connection. You are just seen as typed words on a screen, not a person. You can’t greet anyone with your friendly smile, read body language, have a giggle over a joke or exchange business cards.

Online networking builds connections, but only on a superficial level.

Face-to-face networking gives you a better result because:

  • You can shake hands, look someone in the eye and get a real feel for who they are and what they represent. There is an element of recognition with face-to-face networking that you can’t get online.

  • You’re more likely to be referred to someone else if that person has met you face-to-face, because you have built some trust and rapport.

  • You develop a deeper connection with someone when you have met them in person. They (and you) are more memorable and the meeting has a greater chance of leading to a worthwhile business bond.

  • You can learn more from speaking to people and get inspired by hearing the struggles and triumphs of others.

Online networking and face-to-face networking are both valuable and will lead to great things if done correctly, however face-to-face networking is always going to allow you to collaborate more and achieve better results. Remember, if you need a quick networking confidence boost, try our short 1 Day Business Networking Skills Course. Happy Netships! Julia

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