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It may be 2012 but we still need to meet in person...

Mon 21 May 2012

Networking has slotted very easily into the ‘digital age’  - We are very lucky to have the use of Skype, email, telephone and social media to network and contact people freely and quickly.

All of these technologies are fantastic and shouldn’t be overlooked, but like anything, it needs to be added to the mix and not traded in for old methods.

I thought that this week I’d just give a reminder about why it’s still important to meet in person and not always link across the airwaves/telephone line

You're off the record. 

Everything you say in an email or typed message is ‘on record’ – it’s a very formal way to express thoughts and emotions and is always taken more literally than the spoken word. A smile or chuckle in between sentences can totally change the meaning of something, compared to how it could be construed if it was written. You may get snippets of inside information or tactics that you would never hear in an email as people are always very conscious about how ‘on record’ writing something down is.

You can make use of small talk.  

All work and no play makes for a dull day. …

Obviously when we are networking or doing business our main goal is to actually win business….but what actually cements a bond between people? Small talk. People enjoy talking about everyday things that make us human and it builds trust – favourite sports teams, our children, the weather, TV and film and the other bits and pieces that make us unique and interesting. It’s this bond or likeability factor, that small talk can cement, which will make your networking or business meetings successful.

Making an impression 

A colleague’s new pair of bright yellow suede high heels has proven to be an ice breaker and conversation starter in countless business opportunities recently. The high heels are fun and summery – they make people smile when she meets them and they’re a great locator for people who have never met before!  ‘I’ll be the one wearing the high heels’ I often hear her say over the phone …Now how can do you do that over Skype?! 

Reading body language.

This is a very obvious but important benefit of meeting people in person. Facial expressions and body language often communicate so much more than words. When attempting to find out all you can about someone, a C.V. or LinkedIn profile tells you how they appear on paper – but this very often misleading or misrepresentative of their character. We need to know what isn’t on the LinkedIn profile that makes each person unique. In people’s eyes and in body language, you can sense confidence, empathy, fear, friendliness or sincerity.. 

 

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