Networking is an integral part of building a successful career. We have access to others at our fingertips due to social networking websites and apps, which may have shifted our focus from interacting in person. So, what are the benefits of both? And should we put our efforts into one, or find a good balance to maximise the success of networking?
Online networking continues to grow and there are many websites and apps out there to utilise. So what are the benefits of this quick way to network?
- Social networking platforms are well established, particularly LinkedIn. This means that many professionals are active on these platforms, and you can access them easily. This is particularly helpful if you are connecting with people who don’t live close to you, as you still have the opportunity to connect with them.
- On platforms like LinkedIn, there are suggested connections based on factors such as education and job sector. This means that connections are tailored specifically to you. Building relevant contacts in the real world can be time consuming, this feature makes it quick and easy!
- Having online connections can ease you into face to face meetings. Engaging well with someone online can lead to a meeting in person. Having established a rapport with them online beforehand will reduce how intimidating it might be to meet them in real life!
- People often share articles and opinions on social networking platforms. This makes engaging with other professionals and starting meaningful conversations with useful connections much easier.
- Staying in touch with people that you meet can be done effortlessly online – you’re not waiting until the next time you see this person, you can simply engage with them online.
In Person Networking
Traditionally, networking has taken place in person. There are many events set up for professionals to meet, enjoy industry talks and build connections. This is quite different to online networking – here are the benefits of in real life networking…
- Face to face interactions are impactful. Meeting and engaging with someone in person is much more memorable than being one of many online connections.
- Engaging with someone in person also allows for your personality to shine! It can be difficult to convey your enthusiasm or get your point across online, in person interactions are an easier way to build strong connections!
- Networking events often have industry talks with topics or themes. These are great talking points to help you build connections around relevant and interesting topics. Not to mention – a fantastic opportunity to learn!
- You can choose specific events that are of interest or potentially tackle an issue you’re facing in your career. Tailoring the events that you attend will help you engage with the right people, hopefully growing your business or finding someone to help you problem solve.
- You can learn to refine your skills. It can be daunting to network in person initially, but the more you do it, the better you’ll be! There are opportunities for you to talk about your business or job, and doing this regularly will improve your public speaking skills – making you more confident.
Both online and in person networking have their benefits. The best thing you can do to be a successful networker is utilise them both. Attend events that are relevant to you and build connections – but make sure that you follow up on these connections online and work to maintain them!