cups of coffee at a networking event

Face-to-face networking is as, if not, more important than online interaction.

Todayโ€™s fast paced business environment leaves little room for error. Whatโ€™s more, the mountains of content and connection requests that grab your attention usually pile up until your inboxes are a chaotic mess.
One strong solution, based on my experience, is to head out and start shaking more hands. That’s right – networking. The power of three dimensional relationships, versus the one dimensional relationships that only boost your profile, is worth the time and effort.

In this article, I share four reasons why face to face networking is as important as online networking.

Acquire new leads

It is invigorating to meet new people within your industry. It is even more invigorating when those people share the same interests. Often times, this layer of potential synergy is completely missed when the connection takes place online.
New connections can become new clients, your next great intern or team member, or even your long-awaited co-founder.
Meetups and networking events are great places to start. Do yourself and your business a favor. Head out there and see what you’ve been missing.

Learn moreโ€ฆ.way more

The internet is not the only reliable place for real industry insight.

There is usually a lot more going on in your industry than the myriad of blogs and newsletters to which you subscribe or stumble across in a web search. In fact, if you rely on blog posts and news articles for the bulk of your insight, you are sure to miss out on critical factors that can shape the course of your business.

Head out there and see what people are up to. You might just discover the cue to your next big move.

Enhance your visibility

People love to do business with real people.
Your business is so much more than your social media profiles. More importantly, your presence adds dimensionality to your brand. It even changes the meaning of face-value entirely.

When you go out to in-person events, you create moments that are far more memorable than connection requests on LinkedIn. The connections you make in-person create opportunities that may turn into golden opportunities for your business and your brand. If the reputation of your brand precedes you, why not give the gift of your presence to go with your next great in-person proposal?

Be more than just sales-y

It is better to give than to receive.
By embracing a face-to-face networking opportunity, your motivations become real. The firm handshake, eye contact and, most importantly, the listening ear.
This is where you can offer something of value to your fellow networkers, i.e. benefits, free tips, maybe even a great referral, versus trying to make your next sale. Great relationships are, after all, based on those things that go beyond the exchange.
Make it your focus to provide, rather than acquire.
Or to learn and grow, rather than to receive, because sometimes, giving is receiving.

To what networking groups do you belong? Which ones would you recommend for someone trying to increase their in-person networking visibility?