YOU CANNOT EMAIL A HANDSHAKE!
There is the outside perception and the inside reality when it comes to human beings. And if you do not have the skill sets or the talent to decipher the true inside reality of the person across you, well then you should not be even doing business! Stick with a 9 to 5 job!
You may ask; what is this have to do with face to face networking? Actually if has a lot to do with it. The digital business arena certainly has its benefits. It’s quick, convenient, and universally accessible. While online networking is a big part of relationship-building nowadays, it’s far from the whole picture. Face-to-face interaction still offers a host of real, unique advantages – which people in business shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss.
Regardless of technological advances, humans are still social beings. The trust and momentum behind strong business relationships springs from sharing a real, physical presence – and that’s something the most dynamic online conversations fail to provide. Even video networking, which conveys subtle cues like body language, voice tone, and facial expressions, can’t simulate the reassuring grip of a confident handshake, or the positive energy of experiences, values, and interests shared face to face. These things can only unfold by interacting in person.
Because of that exclusive context, live networking can be a valuable opportunity to help keep you and your business a step ahead of the game. Networking in person sometimes demands a bit of effort and frankly a skill set (like anything else you aim to be good at). After all, it involves time and physical investment. In the long run, though, face-to-face business interactions help build stronger, more productive, and more mutually beneficial business relationships.
Stating that face to face networking is a waste or has less value than other networking platforms simply shows that one needs to improve their interaction and research skills to understand how to take advantage of face to face networking. You need to do a lot of due diligence about the meetings you attend and make sure that they have a well-defined agenda, purpose, target audience and many other things that would take too long to address here. In short you need to do some work and learn what the “positive” value proposition the event will bring to you and your business.
By; Hal Tezcan, Cofounder, Startup Port (www.startup-port.com), firstname.lastname@example.org
First published in 2009