In 2023, it’s hard to get anywhere in the business world without networking. Networking enables you to meet like-minded people, get help with your business, and further your career. However, the rise of technology and social media has created a whole new type of networking – online networking. Has the rise of online networking made in-person networking a thing of the past or is it still as relevant as ever? What does in-person networking offer that online networking doesn’t? Keep reading to find out more about online networking and in-person networking. We’ll be exploring the key differences between both, as well as the pros and cons.
More and more people are moving towards online networking – and not just because of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are many benefits to networking online – it’s easier, you can do it from the comfort of your own home, and you can network on a much larger scale. Online networking is generally more convenient than meeting people in person. You don’t have to worry about childcare, about missing appointments, about travelling, and you can even network in your pyjamas if you want to. Business mastermind groups are a great way of meeting like-minded people and are often conducted on platforms such as Zoom or Google Meet. In a typical business mastermind group, you’ll have the opportunity to talk about yourself and what you do, ask any questions you may have, and learn about other individuals in the group. From there, you can make real professional connections and friendships. There are countless websites and apps that can help you network, and some are specific to your industry or niche. This makes it easier to search for people that you want to connect with on a larger scale. Social media is a great way of networking, as you can meet pretty much anybody from your industry or your niche. When you hear online networking, your mind automatically thinks of Linkedin – it’s one of the most popular professional networking sites on the internet, with over 313 million members all around the globe.
Linkedin is a popular networking site used by millions of professionals. On Linkedin, you have the opportunity to connect with people from all industries. You can gain hundreds of connections in a few days, which would take years to do if it were in person. However, these connections tend to be less stable than real-life connections, as you can remove someone from your connections with one click. On Linkedin, you have the opportunity to display your job title, your career history, your degree, and what kind of job you’re looking for if you’re on the job market. It’s a great way to get to know a connection before meeting them face to face – if you get to know more about somebody beforehand, you’re less likely to waste time and be disappointed. You can not only search for connections, but get automatically suggested connections related to your career, degree, and other connections. Although Linkedin is extremely popular, it’s just one of many online networking opportunities. Webinars and online networking events are becoming more and more popular, with countless connections been made through screens every day.
Although online networking is undeniably on the rise, in-person networking is still relevant and beneficial to professionals. There’s no denying that online networking enables you to network on a much larger scale, but networking in person can help you build deeper and more personal connections. It can be difficult to show your personality online, and it’s much easier to hide aspects of yourself. However, in person, it can be harder to hide your reactions and your true personality. When you meet someone face to face, you’re far more likely to remember the experience – you’ll remember details about the person, their attitude, and how you feel about them. When you’re online, you’re just one in a digital sea of many, but in person, you can stand out and make a real impression. Being able to meet somebody face to face and shake their hand is something that online networking can not replicate. Attending networking events is one of the best ways you can network in person. A quick Google search will bring up countless results if you’re looking for networking events, but the best way you can find a quality networking event is through word of mouth. If you’re looking for a local event, then ask people in your local community – teachers, shop owners, and people at your local community centre are sure to shed some light on any networking events happening in the local area. One of the many benefits of face-to-face networking is the fact that you can have actual conversations, and respond in real-time. When you network online, even when using an instant messaging app, you may end up waiting days for a response. This can make things difficult if you need a question answered or require help with something. Things can also get misinterpreted online – things such as jokes and sarcasm can easily be misread through a screen, but when you’re standing in front of somebody, it’s much easier to read their body language and hear their tone of voice.
There are benefits to both online and in-person networking. One of the best approaches is to connect with people on networking apps and websites, and then meet them in person to form a deeper connection. This enables you to make the most of both worlds, so you’re not limited to one or the other. Networking is essential if you want to move forward in the business world, and knowing the right people is everything. Successful people in the business world make it a priority to attend networking events both online and in-person, as both have their own benefits. It’s best to have a balance between the two so your horizons are broadened. Try to avoid spending all of your time networking online, or all of your time networking in person – and make the most of all the tools, apps, sites, and meetings available to you.
Mark is a multi-award winner in business networking and relationship building. He is passionate about coaching and mentoring business owners and professionals through 1-1 & group coaching, team performance workshops and group mastermind sessions.