Virtual vs face to face networking

  • Virtual vs face to face networking

There’s no doubt that virtual networking was a lifesaver for businesses during the pandemic. The ability to maintain existing connections and make new ones kept many businesses going.

With restrictions now over, many are choosing to continue to network digitally rather than in person.

Should we carry on with digital networking or return to face-to-face events?

Let’s look at the pros and cons:

  • Digital networking saves time
    The ability to simply log on from wherever you are and chat to others onscreen cuts out any need for travel time. It can be the difference between a one hour meeting or taking a few hours out of your day once you’ve factored in the journey.
  • You can’t read body language from a screen
    We pick up so many subtle clues from body language – a handshake, eye contact, posture – that tell us so much about someone’s personality and whether for example, we think they’re honest, friendly, or competent. It’s often impossible to pick up on these signals from a screen.
  • You can meet a broader range of people online
    Attendees at an in-person event are people who are all able to be in the same place at the same time. Meeting online gives you the chance to network with people who you might otherwise never have come into contact with due to geographical restrictions.
  • Glitchy tech can ruin an event!
    As amazing as technology is, it’s not failsafe and an unreliable connection can be extremely frustrating when you’re trying to chat to new people. There’s no better conversation-killer than a constantly freezing screen and the ensuing apologies!
  • Virtual networking is cheaper
    As well as saving on travel, there are no dinner and drinks involved in online networking. You also don’t need to worry about having the right outfit (at least, not for your bottom half!)
  • It’s hard to see interaction online
    In a room full of people, a quick glance around is often enough to identify the big personalities, those who are more reserved, the crowd-pleasers – in short, it can help you work out how people interact with others. When networking online, participants are usually alone in a room, making it impossible to see how they gel with others – which is important when trying to make an assessment of their personality.

There is certainly a time and place for digital networking and it can undoubtedly make working life easier and open up many opportunities. But nothing really beats human interaction in the flesh for making a genuine connection and building relationships. Just ask yourself – if you had to choose between doing business with two equally suitable people, one you’d met in person, one only on screen, who are you more likely to you go with?

During lockdown, ABG ran our weekly meetings online but we are so happy to be back face-to-face, meeting at The Cave, Boughton, every Tuesday from 7:30am.
At ABG, we’re big advocates of in-person get-togethers and are always keen to welcome new members.

If you’re interested in joining us, get in touch today to find out more, or book your free visit including a hearty breakfast, on us.