We spend a lot of time these days networking through social media channels. It’s safe to say we live in a fully connected, digital age.
If you dive deeper, year-over-year, the percentage of executives who “connect” in ways other than face-to-face continues to grow at an alarmingly quick rate. There are many who believe we are on the cusp of having an entire generation of businesspeople who will never gain — or practice — the art of in-person networking?
That would be a shame. Social channel networking certainly expands one’s opportunities to build a wide network, but the limitations of virtual networking also preclude establishing very deep relationships.
The reality is that few things can replace the power of meeting someone face-to-face and having a good, old-fashioned conversation at a networking event, power breakfast or luncheon. Body language is important in the business world; it often provides the edge in understanding what someone means rather than just what someone says.
And social networking doesn’t provide the opportunity to engage in more meaningful conversations, where the ability to ask questions, listen and then ask follow-up questions can lead to unearthing business opportunities that social networking just doesn’t reveal.
The bottom line: Conversation is powerful. If you know how to talk with people instead of talk to them your business opportunities may just become limitless. And in a world where you can communicate virtually with hundreds, if not thousands or millions, of people each day, businesses are really built one client and one relationship at a time.