Do you get caught up in, or rely too heavily on digital networking? Do you get into a rut and forget about how important networking in person is? Big mistake. Without the right blend of online and in-person connectivity, we miss out on many benefits we offer each other as professionals.
I see people fall into this rut all the time, thinking if they send a text, email or social media post then that’s enough. Remember transactions are not relationships. Better to own your time with people more personally, no matter how long or short it may be.
It’s so important to establish and develop connections and relationships in person because that is where magic happens. Any opportunity you have to go out and meet people in person is a coveted opportunity. Take advantage of it and make things happen that just can’t happen the same way online.
Below are the benefits of in-person networking that can help develop real relationships that matter.
Personalize Your Time With People
Whatever time you have with people, focus on them and make the absolute most of it. Ask questions that show your sincere interest in them. Come away with one significant commitment, agreement, appointment, or goal that you both can work on.
Establish Chemistry and Synergy
Nothing establishes chemistry more than being in someone’s presence. There is something inexplicable that happens when you can interact with people through eye contact, sense of humor and shared energy.
Learn About Peoples’ Back Stories
Everyone has a story that can reveal so much about where they come from, how they have gotten to their current place and what common ground you can find with them. We all share human experiences in business. These experiences have taught us all the importance of hope, hard work and faith to help us through.
Have Diverse and Interesting Conversations
The ability to focus on a specific conversation point with someone makes us memorable and establishes commonality. Ask people about what they do, interesting trends they see in their industry and the values and fundamentals you believe you have in common.
Set Specific Goals About What’s Next
Have you ever seen someone at a networking event you know or want to meet and thought it might be the perfect time to initiate an intro or conversation? Take the initiative to do this more often. Compliment them on something they are doing that you admire.
Introduce People to Each Other in Person
Not everyone is comfortable chit chatting and small talking with others at networking events. Take the opportunity to introduce people to each other when you believe they might be a good fit. This includes businesses that may be complimentary, personalities that match up or just cool people that you feel should know each other.
Learn About Inside Initiatives and Projects
Have you ever been in a conversation in which information that has not yet become common knowledge in your industry is revealed? People tend to reveal this kind of information in intimate face to face conversations. This can happen in part because of the sense of trust that is established in the moment. When it comes to job and career opportunities, amazing info is shared in person that is NOT shared elsewhere. So stay alert.
Take Relationships to Another Level
When we consistently show up, engage, contribute and participate in professional gatherings and events, we will naturally take relationships to another level and get to know key people in our industry better. That is happening to me now after being in a new area and town.
Brainstorm and Spark New Ideas and Goals
Joining professional groups is important, but getting involved with them is more important. Join a committee, work on an initiative, project or task that puts you side by side with others working toward a common goal or outcome. The bond created by accomplishing something with others is priceless.
Make a Memorable Impression
A firm handshake, a warm smile, a hug, a shared laugh, an unexpected conversation, a personal connection established with an initial meeting — these are all things that can only happen in person.
Have Fun and Let Your Hair Down
There are other things only possible when socializing in person. You just can’t get into dancing, singing, telling a great joke or having an enjoyable group conversation online. Period. They can only happen in person.
Don’t underestimate the power and benefit of developing your sociability face to face. At dinners, business events, in elevators, waiting in line, at airports or at the grocery store: in all these settings you can find new connections and new business opportunities.
People are fun and fascinating. Become more of a people person and watch what great things can happen.
Networking  Photo via Shutterstock