If you’re asking yourself what the ‘Two’ in the title is about, it’s probably because you missed ‘Networking: One’ – check it out here. If you’d prefer the TL;DR (“too long; didn’t read”) option, just keep reading.
Last week, to kick off my two-part series about networking, I wrote about my experiences in virtual networking (aka new-age networking). My key takeaways were:
- If you’re prepared to jump on a video call with a stranger, there’ll be no shortage of people to chat with.
- Everyone you speak to knows something you don’t.
- Your small-talk skills will level up big time!
This week I’m writing about the ol’ faithful traditional version of networking – face to face.
It feels weird to say that in the couple of months we were in lockdown, I became very comfortable with virtual networking. Knowing that it wouldn’t be practical to only meet virtually moving forward, I’ve been making an effort to reintegrate and reacclimatise to face-to-face networking. I’ve got to say, it is a refreshing change!
After an extended hiatus, the anticipation was high, and I wasn’t disappointed. Meeting face to face rather than through Zoom brought a totally different quality to the experience.Digby Scott, Keep Your Meetings Real (May 2020)
It was a great experience heading down to one of my favourite cafes for a meeting. I enjoyed the coffee, the meeting, and the walk to and from the cafe!
Virtual tools are incredibly convenient and easy but they definitely lack some of the personality that a physical catch-up has. So far, I’ve only caught up with a couple of people since NZ moved to Lockdown Level 2 but, both times, they have been sessions full of rich information and conversation.
What does face-to-face have that virtual doesn’t?
Conveniently, I received an email from Digby Scott‘s mailing list this week about having ‘real meetings’. Digby wrote about a dinner party he attended with some friends, saying, “After an extended hiatus, the anticipation was high, and I wasn’t disappointed. Meeting face to face rather than through Zoom brought a totally different quality to the experience.”
He posed a pretty poignant question too, why should we meet face-to-face when it is almost always more convenient to have a virtual meeting? His take is that the following three things are enhanced by a face to face meeting:
- Belonging: Our deep need for a real connection with others
- Bringing: Our desire to bring value to the world. To make a difference
- Becoming: Our hunger to learn and grow through a rich exchange of ideas
These are important things to consider as, fundamentally, everyone wants to feel like they belong, have something to offer, and have a path to personal improvement.
What’s my take?
Personality, physical connection, and authenticity.
Don’t get me wrong, I think video calls can absolutely be authentic and genuine connection can be achieved. It just doesn’t quite get to the level of a face-to-face chat.
So, what am I gonna do?
Being a big fan of both the virtual and face-to-face options, it doesn’t take much for me to draw my conclusion:
A balance of face to face and virtual networking is the way to go.
I’m going to use a mix depending on what’s convenient for my schedule. It’s much easier to stack video calls within a day because there’s no travel time and you can easily take notes and follow through with actions immediately (since you’re already on your computer!)
But, for important meetings and to create meaningful relationships and connection – there’s nothing better than meeting in person.
Like so many things in life, it’s all about balance.
I know I said that I wouldn’t be doing a weekly #Pupdate moving forward but we took Billie to a photo shoot last weekend and it was hilariously cute. She was so well-behaved for the photographer. So, keep an eye out for a professional photo or two in the coming weeks!
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