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Navigating the Evolving Landscape of Business Networking: Balancing Virtual and In-Person Interactions

As a business networking trainer and relational strategist for nearly two decades, I'm always intrigued by the evolving dynamics of networking. Recently, we conducted a poll among our audience, asking them what works best for them: meeting someone face to face and following up online, or meeting online first then face to face. The response was clear: 85% preferred meeting face to face first and then following up online.

This preference sheds light on the enduring power of face-to-face interactions in networking.

In the not-so-distant past, business networking was constrained by geographical limitations, requiring physical presence at events. However, the rise of online networking has democratised connections, breaking down barriers of distance and time constraints. While online networking offers efficiency and reach, the need for genuine face-to-face connections persists.

Research supports this preference for face-to-face networking. Studies have found that face-to-face interactions lead to greater trust and cooperation compared to online interactions. This is because face-to-face communication allows more social time and allows for the interpretation of non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language, which play a crucial role in building trust and rapport.

Furthermore, face-to-face networking provides a level of personalisation and authenticity that is often lacking in online interactions. Meeting someone in person allows for a deeper and more meaningful exchange, creating a lasting impression that is more likely to result in a successful follow-up online.

However, as we transition post-pandemic, balancing virtual and in-person interactions becomes crucial. Yet, we are finding that reintegrating into traditional networking settings after a prolonged period of remote interactions is posing its own set of challenges. It’s even more daunting for those that didn’t network pre pandemic.

Adapting to this hybrid model of networking requires a nuanced approach. It entails leveraging the efficiency and reach of online platforms while recognising the enduring value of in-person connections. Striking this balance demands flexibility and agility, as well as a new skill set for creating and managing viable networks.

The preference for meeting someone face to face first and then following up online, as indicated by our recent poll, underscores the enduring value of face-to-face networking in the digital age. By leveraging the personalisation, trust-building, and serendipitous opportunities that face-to-face interactions afford, individuals can enhance their networking efforts and cultivate meaningful professional relationships.


We offer a variety of specialised and curated programs to help you take your networking to the next level. Take a look via the link here ~

Happy relationships,


Julia Palmer a respected Relational Strategist and Chief Executive of Relatus, helping you develop your relational capabilities to give you the human advantage.




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