When working on my quarterly newsletter earlier in the year, I got to thinking about all the “talk” around social media. It’s the latest rage to be tweeted on Twitter, have a Facebook friend, or get LinkedIn. While online social networking continues to grow in popularity, and worthwhile for many reasons, I say it’s still important to remember the good old tradition of offline social networking.
Yes, that’s right – meeting people face-to-face, in person! Before the Internet age, many business people relied on getting out of the office to professional meetings to network, greet fellow colleagues and build relationships.
Building relationships – that’s what it’s all about. And today, more than ever before, it’s important to “meet & greet,” shake hands and have a personal conversation with clients and prospects – not just one that’s typed in an e-mail.
In an article published in Pacific Business News last year, a Waikiki entrepreneur was quoted as saying “…hundreds of professionals [are] making time for midweek business networking events in Hawaii, a scene that has taken off in the last six months.”
“People are starting to realize, especially in this economy, that you have to get out, put your face out there, build your credibility so you can not only grow your own business, but help others with new contacts.”
In my marketing seminars and articles I’ve written, I’ve long touted the benefits of networking. And, I don’t just mean attending events, but getting involved with the various organizations that are available in your community.
In their book, Marketing Your Consulting and Professional Services, authors Dick Connor and Jeffrey Davidson maintain that if you, “Visit any metro area and attend a local meeting of the Red Cross, International Rotary. . . or other civic, professional, or charitable groups, undoubtedly, you will meet many of the area’s most successful professionals. Successful professionals know that giving of their time freely is an excellent way to be of service to the community and to help build the firm.”
And, in their book, Marketing Your Service Business, Jean Withers and Carol Vipperman explained, “Joining just two organizations of people who might be prospective clients can provide referrals and new business.”
So, if you’re online typing away on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or whatever your social media of choice, good for you. However, don’t forget to put yourself OUT THERE in the public among potential prospects who might just appreciate meeting you in person, having the opportunity to shake your hand and laugh together out loud instead of “LOL” online.
There are MANY organizations available that hold networking events and/or need your involvement on a committee or council. Here on Kaua`i it’s surprising how many networking options are available, such as:
- Kauai Chamber of Commerce
- One of six Rotary clubs
- Zonta Club of Hanalei and Zonta Club of Kauai
- Kauai North Shore Business Council
- Kapaa Business Association
- Lihue Business Association
- Women in Business Roundtable
In the Boulder/Denver metro area, where I started The Write Direction, there were numerous choices that included:
- Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce
- Boulder Chamber of Commerce
- Business and Professional Women (BPW)
- Several Rotary clubs
- Leads Clubs
- And many more.
Check out your community. In addition to your local Chamber of Commerce and non-profit organizations you may have numerous trade associations – from real estate organizations to advertising and/or marketing associations.
See what’s available to you and go meet some new faces – up close and personal. And, while you’re at it, HAVE FUN!
As the article in Pacific Business News put it, it’s “More fun, productive than cold-calling.”
Source: Chiem, L. “As business slows, networking accelerates.” Pacific Business News, 3/13/2009