Regardless of technological conveniences, I will always prefer in-person networking groups and events. As a small business owner and graphic designer, I spend most of my day alone. While this type of environment is important for my creativity, meeting with other business owners in-person whether at networking events or social engagements is what keeps my business growing and thriving.
If you’re still on the fence regarding in-person meetings, here are a few reasons why I prefer one on one encounters and why you may want to give networking groups a try for growing your business.
In-person networking allows face-to-face interaction, which helps me build a stronger personal connection with others. Meeting someone in person allows me to see their body language, hear their tone of voice, and establish a more meaningful connection.
Meeting someone in person can also help establish trust and credibility. It allows each person to show their personality, we talk about our experience, expertise, and professionalism, which can be challenging to convey through online interactions.
I also like that in-person networking provides immediate feedback. I can immediately gauge someone’s interest by how they engage and react to my ideas or proposals. This was incredibly helpful (and sometimes scary) when I first started going to networking events, but it did help me tremendously in improving my networking skills.
In-person networking groups often attract diverse professionals from various industries. This provides me the opportunity to connect with individuals I may not have the opportunity to otherwise and expand my work.
Another perk is that in-person networking events can lead to unexpected connections and opportunities. I look forward to chance meetings and the spontaneous conversations that often times lead to valuable connections, collaborations, and business opportunities.
I also think that in-person networking allows for more subtle communication. I have an easier time understanding a person when I can see their gestures, facial expressions, and other non-verbal cues. I think this is important in order to help avoid miscommunication or misunderstandings that can occur in online interactions.
While online networking has advantages, such as convenience and the ability to connect with a larger audience, in-person networking groups offer unique benefits that I have found to be invaluable for building my business relationships and establishing trust. It is how I continue to stay in business and grow my network, client base and friend group.