YOU CANNOT EMAIL A HANDSHAKE
The other day I was reading a blog (I don’t care much about reading blogs but this had to do with the co-working marketplace of one of the startups I mentor and advise for) and one of the posts had to do with face to face networking. The young entrepreneur was complaining that face-to-face networking events where a plain waste of time! Well, I strongly disagree (this young person is dead wrong!) with this view and felt the need to write this.
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 will be better off, trust me.
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 (an adopted). While online networking is a big part of relationship-building nowadays (LinkedIn and all the other Business Platforms…), 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 spring 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 (and stimulate) 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, face-to-face. networking can be a super 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 serious 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.
Regardless of the technological advances, you can still NOT email a handshake!
Co-founder, Startup Port
Innovation, Commercialization, Performance & Growth
Helping Startups Launch & Established Enterprises Grow
332 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 1100, Chi, IL 60604 (with a magnificent view of Lake Michigan and beyond..)
First published by Hal Tezcan in May 2006, revised and update in 2016.
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