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In the Flesh: Networking in the Real World


Of course this post presupposes that you’re like me – and you spend the majority of your waking hours plastered to your computer.

I’m writing, of course, but I’m also taking advantage of the opportunity that online networking, aka social media, affords me. We, you and I, can connect with people all over the world to collaborate on projects, build project teams, get new work. I’ve built an entire business in this virtual manner.

But, today, are you sitting down? Today, I’m going to a real live networking event. I know! It’s shocking.

You know I love my social media, but I believe high value is still to be found in meeting people live and in person:

  • Nothing compares to looking someone in the eye and having a conversation.
  • I don’t care how good you are (or your writer is) at crafting copy–charm and personality are not two dimensional. Caveat: Unless you don’t have any.
  • As the service/product supplier, it’s helpful to have the body language of your potential customer at your disposal. Does this person need hand-holding, humor, a take charge attitude, old-school professionalism?
  • People often come to seminars, workshops and networking events in pairs or groups. How great to have Billy say, “Jack, you’ve got to come over here and talk to this lady.” And then pull him over to you and say, “He needs you so bad!”
  • I’ve been told that there are studies out there that say too much computer exposure is bad for our health, that sitting hunched over our desks isn’t good for the back and that a lack of in-person social interaction might make us depressed. That’s what they say, anyway.
  • Live events are slower than the speed of, say, Twitter. You don’t have time to craft the perfect response to an inquiry when you’re face to face with it. Keeps us on our toes, right? Makes the heart pound? Love it.

When was the last time you left your computer for an event? How do you compare online versus live networking?

Image by Adactio

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • --Deb says:

    You mean there are people who DON’T spend most of their waking hours in front of a computer?? Who are these people? Certainly they’re not in my family…

    Although, some of my co-workers actually do not own computers. No, I don’t know how that’s possible, either.

  • I don’t spend too much time on the computer these days (due to kids not letting me, or I’d be right there with you), but when I did I know I’d lose sleep and slip into a sort of alternate reality.

    I agree that it’s important and healthy to snap out of it sometimes and get out into the real world. We used to have seminars at my former job & I felt so energized afterwards! The feeling and motivation would last for a month or so. Well worth the time.

  • Malcolm Donald says:

    Julie is great. What knowledge and enthusiasm she displayed at the New Media Presentation this morning!

  • Julie Roads says:

    Thank you! It was a pleasure to meet you, Malcolm!!!

  • Julie: I went to a real estate networking event in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago. There were about 300 ppl there. I was astounded at the number of lap tops and electronic devices. People were tweeting people sitting next to them, people across the room, even the speakers. I was more interested in making “in the flesh” connections. I could have stayed home if I only wanted to connect electronically. I really enjoyed meeting people I had connected with on Twitter and Active Rain.

  • Ron Miller says:

    You are so right Julie. I find if I spend too much time in front of my computer I get depressed. I think it has more to do with lack of physical activity than lack of face to face interaction, but I have found when I do get out into the world and meet people all kinds of good things happen.

    In fact, when I spoke at a Hidden Tech Social Media panel in February it lead to our socmedia101 blog, a partnership with two other folks and some discussions with several others. And that’s just one meeting. Imagine if I ventured out into the world more often?!

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